Liberty Safe, one of America’s renowned manufacturers of gun safes, faced heavy criticism after it was revealed that the company complied with an FBI request for the access code to a safe owned by Nathan Hughes, a participant in the January 6, 2021, Capitol event.
Popular conservative commentators Keith and Kevin Hodge, better known as the Hodgetwins, were the first to shed light on the incident involving their friend Nathan Hughes. Arrested at gunpoint in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on August 30, 2023, Hughes said in a statement, “I was swarmed by 3 vehicles of heavily armed FBI agents and arrested with rifles pointed at me.”
During the arrest, the FBI also raided Hughes’s home, disconnecting his security cameras and internet. His girlfriend, who had recently suffered a miscarriage, was handcuffed and held at gunpoint.
Here’s another look at the FBI arrest:
Another angle of the FBI arrest of Nathan Hughes over J6
The feds REALLY didn’t want people getting close and videoing them pic.twitter.com/l6UFDMBGT5
— Hodgetwins (@hodgetwins) September 7, 2023
Video of FBI raiding Hughes’ house:
NEW: America’s top gun safe manufacturer, Liberty Safe, gave the FBI an access code to a safe owned by someone who was present at the J6 protest.
We have officially found the Bud Light of gun safes. Enjoy going out of business, @libertysafeinc.
The situation gets even worse: On… pic.twitter.com/MY7jSlJoyK
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) September 6, 2023
Criticism of Liberty Safe surged when Hughes revealed that the company readily provided the FBI with his gun safe’s access code after a warrant was shown. The episode stirred questions about the privacy and rights of gun owners, and Liberty Safe found itself at the center of the controversy.
Liberty Safe claimed that it only provided access codes to authorities after receiving proper legal documentation and has denied requests in the past that lacked a valid warrant.
In a video statement, Hughes said, “Last week, I was raided by the FBI, and my house was searched over some January 6 allegations. I guess the FBI called Liberty Safes, and Liberty Safes gave them a master code to get into my gun safe. I didn’t even know that was a thing.”
He continued, “I’d come home to see that my safe was open after I got out of jail. So pretty crazy. I didn’t know safe companies would do that. So I feel like a lot of our gun safes are not actually safe.”
Update: Here’s what happened with my Liberty Safe and the FBI raid. pic.twitter.com/Tf4dTimHS3
— Nathan Hughes (@rallynate) September 6, 2023
Following the public backlash, Liberty Safe released a new statement clarifying and revising its policy on cooperation with law enforcement. The company said, “Going forward we will require a subpoena that legally compels Liberty Safe to supply access codes but can only do so if these codes still exist in our system.”
The safe manufacturer also announced a feature allowing customers to opt out of the company’s database, thereby ensuring that only the safe owner knows the access code.
Read the full statement:
At Liberty Safe, we are dedicated to safeguarding the rights and privacy of all our customers. It is a promise that remains deeply personal to our employees and leadership. Our company, one of America’s oldest and largest safe manufacturers, was founded on the belief that Americans should have the fundamental right to protect and safeguard their valuables and property.
As a courtesy to our customers, Liberty Safe has long adhered to industry standards by maintaining a secure database of factory-set combinations. This practice helps customers regain access to their safe for a wide range of reasons, including loss of the original combination, service requests, and warranty issues. Liberty Safe processes over 4,000 requests of this type annually and provides combinations to safe owners only once they provide clear documentation of their identity and their ownership of the safe.
We listen to our customers and update our products and practices in response to their evolving needs. Today, we are announcing a change that empowers our customers with greater control over their information: Effective immediately, existing customers can visit www.libertysafe.com/pages/combination-removal and fill out the form to have records of their access codes expunged. In the coming weeks, we will be releasing a feature that gives every new customer this option when registering their safe.
This change allows customers to take control of how their information is stored and protected. We understand that many of our customers are willing to assume the responsibility of safeguarding their own combination.
While those who opt out of our data storage process will have limited recourse in case of a lost combination, we respect their choice and are here to support them in the way that’s best for them.
We have also revised our policies around cooperation with law enforcement. Going forward we will require a subpoena that legally compels Liberty Safe to supply access codes but can only do so if these codes still exist in our system.
Our mission is to protect what matters most to our customers, whether that be valuables or privacy.
It is our pledge to continue to make excellent products that serve gun owners everywhere.