ATF Can Take Your Stuff

forfeiturereform.com reports that “Attorney General Eric Holder has granted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) authority, for a one-year trial period, to seize and administratively forfeit property allegedly involved in controlled substance offenses .” Oh great. The federal Agency that instigated and condoned the illegal sale of firearms to Mexican drug thugs–at least one of which was used by a “rip crew” to murder U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry–can now confiscate property from citizens allegedly involved in drug offenses. Hey isn’t that a DEA gig? Glad you asked . . .

ATF investigations focusing on violent crime frequently involve complex criminal organizations with multiple criminal enterprises and uncover drug-related offenses in addition to offenses within ATF’s primary jurisdiction, such as violations of the Gun Control Act, 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44, or the Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act, 18 U.S.C. Chapter 114. In such investigations, ATF does not currently have authority under 21 U.S.C. Chapter 13 to seize for administrative forfeiture property involved in controlled substance offenses. Instead, ATF generally refers such property to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which is primarily responsible for investigating violations of drug laws contained in title 21 of the United States Code. DEA then initiates, processes, and concludes all necessary forfeiture actions for the controlled-substance-related property.

Now they don’t have to! The ATF can just take the money and stuff from people busted for a firearms offense and keep it for themselves! Awesome!

In fact, it doesn’t even matter if the ATF finds drugs. As long as they think a suspect’s cash might have come from drug dealing they can take the money from its owner “on theories that the currency was furnished, or intended to be furnished, in exchange for a controlled substance.”

[Note to the TTAG’s AI: you might not want to keep cash in your gun safe anymore.]

How, pray tell, did Attorney General Eric “Perjury” Holder extends the ATF’s powers without Congressional approval? The same way they created the illegal long gun registry in America’s border states: Executive Order.

This rule has been drafted and reviewed in accordance with Executive Order 12866, “Regulatory Planning and Review,” section 1(b), Principles of Regulation, and with Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review.,” This rule is limited to agency organization, management, or personnel matters as described by Executive Order 12866, section 3(d)(3) and, therefore, is not a “regulation” or “rule” as defined by that Executive Order.

It’s not a rule or regulation. It’s a . . . policy change. Geddowdaheah. Seriously, will no one rid me of this troublesome agency?

comments

  1. avatar jwm says:

    come november we can rid ourselfs of barry and holder. might take a little longer to rid our selves of batfe. still we can rein them in a bit in november.

    1. avatar Clay says:

      Right, because Romney surely won’t flop under stress from the antis. The two major parties in this country both make me sick to my stomach, for one reason or another. Voting one or another of them into power does not really solve any problems.

      1. avatar Michael C says:

        Yeah, but voting ‘Third Party’ or ‘independent’ doesn’t work so well either because they simply don’t have enough traction yet. For now we just have to pick the lesser evil and let the pols know what we expect from them.

        1. avatar Who Knows? says:

          And “for now” will then therefore stay “forever”.

        2. avatar Jake says:

          Good luck believing that means another shill will get elected. Go ahead and blame it on people who prefer to use common sense when willard loses too. He, and the old guard fascist Repug establishment all brought it on themselves. There was and is no way for Romney to beat Obama. It would have been great if someone who could actually BEAT obama were nominated, just because I don’t like Romney doesn’t mean I like Obama.

      2. avatar Mr. Lion says:

        He’s so far proven himself capable of listening to the people and largely acting on it. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt at this point.

        If the usual suspects are barely paying lip service to the antis at this point, it’s silly to assume Romney will, especially given his veep pick.

      3. avatar Accur81 says:

        Romney and Paul are the pro-gun votes. You’re free to vote for BHO or go independent, but no independent has a hope of winning this election, and the next president will appointing SCOTUS judges.

        1. avatar matt says:

          Hey Accur81, as a California LEO, how many assets and guns have you seized?

        2. avatar Accur81 says:

          @ Matt

          As a California LEO, I’ve seized cars, motorcycles, and trucks from unlicensed, reckless, and DUI drivers. I’m sure they were exactly the folks you would want driving behind you when traffic comes to a sudden stop. My eyes were opened some when a driver on a medically suspended license took out the whole left side of my patrol car while I was still in it. And parked on the right shoulder. Ah, well. Chicks dig scars.

          FLAME DELETED

        3. avatar theaton says:

          Accur81:
          So you’re saying that Romney didn’t sign a permanent AWB in MA? Or are you saying an AWB is pro-gun? Maybe I just don’t understand the meaning of pro-gun?

          The only wasted vote is the vote against your beliefs.

        4. avatar matt says:

          I’m sure they were exactly the folks you would want driving behind you when traffic comes to a sudden stop.

          Oh no! A unlicensed driver behind the wheel in gridlock traffic? Think of what could happen, they might honk their horn! They certainly deserve to have their car stolen by the government.

          And for the record, I’m not worried about reckless or DUI drivers either.

          My eyes were opened some when a driver on a medically suspended license took out the whole left side of my patrol car while I was still in it.

          My first accident involved a police car (crown victoria) slamming in to my drivers side door and fender of my 1990 Isuzu Trooper. Even though I was at a dead stop, and the driver behind me and a pedestrian said it was the cops fault, it was determined somehow that I was at fault in this accident simply because he had his strobe lights on.

          It opened my eyes to the fact that SUVs win in accidents, because I was able to drive away and he had to get towed.

        5. avatar matt says:

          And just wondering, but have you gotten any guns off the street?

  2. avatar nathan says:

    I would like to point out that nearly any thing that’s used to keep money is likely going to test positive for drugs. Recently in Ohio we fought some wording that was going to make storage of firearms in a car safe very interesting.

    Video here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCDvHxViWs0&feature=youtu.be

    So if all it takes is a positive test of your safe, kiss all your stuff goodbye.

  3. avatar Greg Camp says:

    The control freaks keep telling us that we should trust the government. Only bad people will lose their rights. The very idea that someone’s property can be taken away because some agent of the government feels suspicion is an offense to liberty. One way to describe this is a violation of due process. The clearer way is to call it theft.

  4. avatar cz82mak says:

    I think it’s about time We take their stuff! Our gov’t is an unmitigated disaster. It is no longer “of the people”.

  5. avatar matt says:

    The same way they created the illegal long gun registry in America’s border states: Executive Order.

    That sounds like a rather kingly act doesnt it Low Budget Dave.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      cz82mak and matt, sounds like you guys feel you have legitimate gripes against the government. time for you to muster your followers and get serious. let us know how that works out for you.

      1. avatar cz82mak says:

        jwm, it sounds like you have complete faith that the gubbmint can do no wrong. As if there isn’t a ripe history of the gov abusing the people in the name of the “law”. Maybe the unicorns and the rainbows that come out of your ass can save you when they come for you. 😉

  6. avatar Ian says:

    First protest the media.
    Then protest the political parties.
    Then maybe vote.

  7. avatar Aragorn says:

    Some of the thought processes going on by gun owners is absolutely pathetic.
    Removing firearms from those that commit drug crimes is a good thing.
    The same should be applied to crimes directly related to alcohol intoxication including DUI.

    Holder and his boss will be gone this year if Americans can get their collective sh_t together and elect a new CIC.

    In the meantime I would be worrying more about what is going on in NY and CA with gun control fanatics going after anything they can having ripple effects across the country.

    1. avatar Hasdrubal says:

      I seriously doubt people are complaining that the ATF is going after drug dealers. I have a problem with the apparent lack of due process. I would like to see more about how they are supposed to show that any funds or property are linked to drug activity in a specific case, but not going to hold my breath.

      My bigger problem is with the use of the executive order for something of this magnitude, and yes I’m aware that it has happened before and will no doubt happen again. Still, what should have happened is for Holder to ask Congress to grant this power to the ATF, and if it was really such a good idea, then a bill would be voted up to the White House.

      It would be like local police deciding one day to grant themselves overlapping powers with animal control, and citing people with unregistered cats during traffic stops. If the city/county wants to run things that way, then it’s the mayor/council’s job to grant the authority, not someone in a patrol car who just got a visit from the good idea fairy.

      1. avatar matt says:

        I seriously doubt people are complaining that the ATF is going after drug dealers.

        I am. Are they going after pharmacists, doctors, and liquor store owners too? And why exactly would they be going after drug dealers, that is the DEAs job. The reason why is they want the seized funds to be applied to their budget rather than the DEA’s.

        I would like to see more about how they are supposed to show that any funds or property are linked to drug activity in a specific case, but not going to hold my breath.

        They don’t have to show anything, they just say they are, seize the funds, and apply them to their budget. Do you think there might be a conflict of interest there?

        1. avatar theaton says:

          With a good majority of the our money having drug residue on it, it would not be a stretch for the ATF or DEA for that matter, to seize anything from anyone they choose.

          Forfiture laws serve only to further corrupt already corrupt agencies. It’s a shame that law enforcement seems to attract so many corrupt people. The only difference between law enforcement officers and criminals is that LEO’s most always get away with their crimes.

  8. avatar DaveL says:

    These civil forfeiture laws have been in place for a long time, and so has abuse of them. As they’re allowed to keep a significant fraction of the proceeds from the seizures, many PDs have become dependent financially on seizing property from those accused of crimes. In some small towns it has essentially turned the police into highway bandits, pulling people over and confiscating their cash without even bothering to charge them with a crime.

  9. avatar OHgunner says:

    “with Executive Order 13563, ”

    I would have thought that BHO had at LEAST 20,000 EO’s by now….

    /sarcasm/

    1. You do realize (no, of course you don’t) that the EO numbers don’t reset with each new president? So, President Obama’s first EO was not EO 1, but EO 13489. So, in 4 years almost, he has signed some 74 EOs. This does not include lettered EO (e.g. if he wrote EO 13489A, which would clarify the original), in which case he wrote 135. BushII has a grand total of 291; Clinton, 364. So, at this rate, and assuming a second term, Obama is on track to issue less than his predecessors; the trend has been less EOs over a President’s term(s), not more.

      If you are actually interested in facts, you can do more of this fact finding and math by using the data here: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/executive-orders/disposition.html

        1. Thanks for the definition. Doesn’t address the facts, nor the sarcastic post.

        2. avatar theaton says:

          http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/humor

          if you don’t understand, there is nothing more to be said.

        3. avatar theaton says:

          You do understand. You infered that OHgunner was serious when he clearly put /sarcasm/ in his post.

        4. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

          Do not feed the troll.

        5. Sarcasm does NOT necessarily mean that he was neither serious nor that he didn’t believe the underlying facts to be true.

          Whether he couched his statement as “/sarcasm” or not, I do believe that he did in fact intend to say that President Obama published many EOs. His intent was, as the very definition that you posted say, a sharp statement intended to cut or be caustic.

          My answer was intended to deflate his sarcasm by showing the numbers of EO by Obama compared to other presidents. Get it now?

          If you are going to be sarcastic, you have to be prepared to be taken to task. And if you are going to start quoting Merriam, you’d better REALLY understand what words mean.

          Oh, and Moonshine: go pound sand. You add nothing to this thread.

  10. avatar GS650G says:

    Times are tough, tax revenue is down, gotta get money for all these agents somehow. Property confiscation has been gleefully abused all over the nation, the most egregious example was that small Texas town robbing people for speeding, so it’s only natural that the ATF would seek to become a profit center instead of cost.

    They can justify their existence by pointing to the moolah raked in every year because this is going to be standard policy going forward.

  11. avatar Tommy Knocker says:

    I seriously doubt Mitt will stop this. As for what the seized assets are used for, one only has to look at GSA Vegas parties and small town PDs buying boats, stripper club outings, and other toys both for use at work or home. If you give this power of extrajudicial destruction of peoples lives to gov’t agencies, you have lost all your liberty.

    1. avatar miforest says:

      I know barry won’t stop this so I’m willing to give mitt a chance. you are correct though, libery is long gone, we are now just trying to manage the tyranny.

  12. avatar John says:

    “will no one rid me of this troublesome agency?”

    If that happened would you in a fit of remorse from suddenly lacking the topic of such interest have yourself scourged?

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      Nope.

  13. avatar Rich says:

    Keep your cash, gold, jewelry, and guns in your safe, test positive as all cash does lose them to the ATF. They transfer them to drug cartel, drug cartel leaves them at scenes of murders in US, ATF gets them back. The US revolving redistribution of wealth program. Is that not what OWE-BAH-MAO wants?

  14. avatar Tarrou says:

    This is quite literally a license for the agency to steal money whenever they want, while placing the burden of proving the cash has no connection to drugs on the owner. The outrage is not that the BATFE thugs now have this fun new power, but that up until now, they were one of the few that didn’t. Read Reason, Popehat or Radley Balko on asset forfeiture if you want to walk around in a red haze for the day.

  15. avatar miforest says:

    by the way, they don’t have to test anything. LEO “suspicsion” is all it takes to take your stuff, no guns or drugs have to even be at the scene. they can take your cash at a routine traffic stop.
    It the newspapers make noise about a forfiture, then they can test to quiet them down. Civil forfiture doesn’t require any test . we have become a third world cleptocracy.

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      Reminds me of a scene in a movie where someone is being held in jail. When he asked what for the deputy simply says “Suspicion”

  16. The weasel word is “allegedly”.

    That pretty much means they can accuse anyone of anything then confiscate their property.

    Didn’t there used to be something called “due process” & something else called the Fourth Amendment?

  17. avatar Wolfpack46 says:

    let me see; if you are a veteran, conservative, christian or not/ own weapons / and are vocal about the failures of the present administration to include their desire to turn America into another socialist fiasco. I can see it know, good ol boys from holders gang show up, after an anonymous tip related to drugs. and guess what……

    We really need Gov. Martinez of New Mexico for the next AG/ female, latina, packs a .357 yep I like that lady.

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