Skip to comments.Obama Administration Expands ATF’s Power to Seize Property
Posted on 09/08/2012 2:49:47 PM PDT by DogByte6RER
Obama Administration Expands ATFs Power to Seize Property
As part of a one-year trial run, the Department of Justice has granted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives the power to to seize and administratively forfeit property allegedly involved in controlled substance offenses, which is almost tantamount to saying that on the mere suspicion that one is doing something illegal, the ATF can snatch ones firearms and property.
The Washington Times, among other publications, have explained the implications of this new DoJ decree:
Its a dangerous extension of the civil-forfeiture doctrine, a surreal legal fiction in which the seized property not a person is put on trial. This allows prosecutors to dispense with pesky constitutional rights, which conveniently dont apply to inanimate objects. In this looking-glass world, the owner is effectively guilty until proved innocent and has the burden of proving otherwise. Anyone falsely accused will never see his property again unless he succeeds in an expensive uphill legal battle.
Such seizures are common in drug cases, which sometimes can ensnare people who have done nothing wrong. James Lieto found out about civil forfeiture the hard way when the FBI seized $392,000 from his business because the money was being carried by an armored-car firm he had hired that had fallen under a federal investigation. As the Wall Street Journal reported, Mr. Lieto was never accused of any crime, yet he spent thousands in legal fees to get his money back.
Until this expansion of power was granted, the ATF had to refer such matters to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which would initiate, process and conclude all necessary forfeiture actions for the controlled-substance-related property.
So, in other words, now we have at least two federal agencies that can, on a regular basis, seemingly supplant due process and the fourth amendment to take ones property.
With respect to ones money, the burden of proof required is even more tenuously worded. That is, as The Firearm Blog, and The Truth About Guns reported, the ATF doesnt even need to find drugs; rather it can snatch ones cash on theories that the currency was furnished, or intended to be furnished, in exchange for a controlled substance.
Obviously, there are a lot of questions. Among them, how can the government do this without Congressional approval or oversight? Well, 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.
The point to be made here is that it was conceived under the same power that the Obama Administration used to institute the mandate that requires dealers in border-states (Texas, Arizona, California, and New Mexico) to track and report individuals who purchase more than one semi-automatic rifle, with detachable magazine greater than .22 caliber, within a five day period.
Now, with every new change in policy, theres always the question of how will it effect the average citizen?
This is obviously a difficult question to answer. The government would probably argue that its a necessary measure to help crackdown on drug trafficking and that it wont infringe on the rights of the law-abiding.
But then, on the other hand, you have organizations like the Drug Policy Foundation, which is dedicated to the legalization of controlled substances that said in a report circa 2000, one recent study showed that more than 80 percent of person [sic] who had their property seized by the federal government were never even charged with a crime (for more on this, click here).
Also, along those lines, the editors at the Washington Times see it as a confiscatory measure specifically designed to take guns and money from the law-abiding.
Law enforcement agencies love civil forfeiture because its extremely lucrative. The Department of Justices Assets Forfeiture Fund had $2.8 billion in booty in 2011, according to a January audit. Seizing guns from purported criminals is nothing new; Justice destroyed or kept 11,355 guns last year, returning just 396 to innocent owners. The new ATF rule undoubtedly is designed to ramp up the gun-grabbing because, as the rule justification claims, The nexus between drug trafficking and firearm violence is well established. Like with everything, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle between an innocuous measure to help federal agencies fight drug-related violence and crime and a full-blown affront to law-abiding citizens, which in this particular case is not at all comforting.
As its been said in the past:
Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both. - Benjamin Franklin
It’s time the ATF apolarize to the country for Waco and RR and then apologize to Mexico for F&F.
And then we need to fire ALL of them.
By extension, of extreme interest! Ping
If this doesn't scare you, you're just not paying attention.
It scares the heck out of me but it doesn’t surprise me one little bit.
Interesting... in the sort of terrifying “I see what’s going to happen” way.
And jail many of them.
Death by Government is going to become the #1 killer in this country.
So the Feds can shut down a website and seize its domain on the suspicion (not proof!) of intellectual property violations, and they can also take whatever the hell they want on suspicion that what they’re seizing is somehow involved in a drug transaction.
Even the hardcore Leftist government-should-control-and-do-eveything people I know are shocked and seriously alarmed by this.
Since the beginning of the regime, I've found talking to people about the erosion of their liberties is like talking to a wall.
the power to to seize and administratively forfeit property allegedly involved in controlled substance offenses
If this doesn't scare you, you're just not paying attention.
I'm by no means a "legalize marijuana" person, but it has scared me for years that the local police can seize cash and other property without due process.
Extending it to the ATF is scary, but the practice should have been found unconstitutional decades ago.
They didn’t want organized crime and drug busters having all the confiscatory fun.
By the way, “administratively forfeit” doesn’t male sense. Administratively confiscated, yes. Or stolen, more accurately. The other side forfeits; you take.
Fire them all, and try Lon Horiuchi for multiple counts of murder. There are other agents who deserve it as well.
Of all the government agencies to grant more power to, the BATF is the most out of control, unconstitutional, abusive and most threatening to the average citizen.
At what point does a single elected official - supposedly our representatives - show that they still possess their cojones and stop these unconstitutional actions? I have no illusions that any of them have the cojones.
IF SECESSION NOT BE, THEN REVOLUTION MUST.
This is derived from the same Newspeak that makes the income tax system "voluntary".
It's not scary, it's a heads up.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.