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 used to scare me, but there are diminishing returns. People kinds get how prohibition has changed crime and crimefighting. They know about RICO and know property is guilty until proven innocent. They may or may not br aware of ridiculous SCOTUS decisions according to which you can’t possibly get your stuff back after it rubbed up against drugs even if there’ no dour you’re innocent (guess why? government pikes money, dug).
I’s hard, is all, to keep on being scared due both to inertia and the only alternative painted as heroin vending machines at elementary schools and atom bomb solos in every back yard.
Help me out; my translation software’s not working.
I get it now. “Administratively forfeit” means that you have been deemed to have forfeited something on paper. Kinda like his Obamacare was deemed to have passed the House.
There were an awful lot of typos in that post; is that what you meant? For instance, kinds=kinds, br=be, dour=doubt, solo=silo. Sorry.
kinds=kinda. I did it again.
creeping socialism bump for later.........
I don’t want these people to apologize, be fired or just go away. I want justice and I want to see people go to jail.
No. There is no question about how "policy" will always favor the increase of statist power over individual freedoms.
Let the dog shooting begin.
Re your pic in Post #3: She’s very cute, but I’m having trouble reading the fine print on her shirt. What does it say?
There are lots and lots of federal employees who should receive pink slips this winter from President Romney, particularly in the BATF and the IRS. Definitely the IRS.
And that’s just a good start.
Then on to the Departments of Education, Energy, the EPA, the CPSC, to get the ball really rolling.
Why are we laying off soldiers, airmen and sailors when the department, agency and bureau paper-pushers are as thick as flies & maggots on a dead skunk?
We’ll be taking good notes, GOP-e! Four years worth.
Wait for the statist war-on-drugs supporters to show up and tell us why this is a good thing.
Okay, who is going to ask Romney if he will immediately rescind this decree?
We need to start getting in writing all the Obama stuff he is going to wipe out, so that he doesn’t get distracted doing other things, and we get stuck with such Obamanations.
Presidents don’t particularly like to rescind former president’s orders, but Republicans really have no choice, because Obama has so blatantly grabbed powers by decree.
Yep, they keep pushing us into a corner little by little.
The backlash they are going to receive isn’t going to be pretty. Too bad for them.
We start shooting back. People are fed up with this shit.
Yo Dude! I so agree.
First order of business, take the effin gunz away from bureauKaRATZ!
Dept of ED. DOES NOT NEED AN EFFIN SWAT TEAM!!! Nor does the dept of agri., dept of energy, dept of interior.... and on and on.
Hey RATZ! You need an armed individual to go to some guy’s house? How about asking the STATE POLICE or the COUNTY SHERIFF to take your punk ass out to serve the warrant?
I get really upset about this.
this alone should be grounds to charge the majority of the gubmint with deprivation of rights violations...much less the 1000s of cases to come shortly of citizens being robbed at gunpoint...
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.