Liberty Safe Controversy: Liberty Safe shared a safe combination with the FBI without a subpoena, drawing comparisons to Apple’s refusal to do the same.
Policy & Legal Action: After public backlash, Liberty Safe now requires subpoenas for combinations. However, they face a probe by Missouri’s Attorney General for potential deception.
Built-in Vulnerability: AmmoLand News found most digital safes have hard-coded backup (2) codes, making them potentially vulnerable regardless of manufacturer policies.
he Last week, a friend of ours was raided by the feds over J6, his name is Nathan Hughes and he’s from Fayetteville, Arkansas. Nate was raided by the FBI and arrested at gun point. His girlfriend (who just had a miscarriage) was held at gun point and put in handcuffs. The FBI… pic.twitter.com/LOpMQ28eUJ
— Hodgetwins (@hodgetwins) September 5, 2023
Liberty Safe has been at the center of controversy since turning over the combination to a customer’s safe without a court subpoena. The customer was accused of participating in the J6 protest at the U.S. Capitol. The FBI had a search warrant, but Liberty Safes was not required to turn over the combination to law enforcement.
“On August 30, 2023, Liberty Safe was contacted by the FBI requesting the access code to the safe of an individual for whom they had a warrant to search their property. Our company protocol is to provide access codes to law enforcement if a warrant grants them access to a property. After receiving the request, we received proof of the valid warrant, and only then did we provide them with an access code. Liberty Safe had no knowledge of any of the details surrounding the investigation at the time,” the company wrote on social media as the backlash grew.
Liberty Safes changed its policy after the internet uproar. The company said it would require a subpoena before handing any combinations over to law enforcement. This move isn’t enough for some, like Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, who has opened a probe into the company for potential deception.
“In an era where the federal government weaponizes our national security apparatus against political opponents, the last thing we need is for a private company to sell out its fellow Americans under pressure from federal bureaucrats,” Bailey said. “I am using every tool at my disposal to protect the rights of all Missourians. That’s why my office is opening this investigation to ensure Liberty Safe is not deceiving its customers in its terms of service.”
— Liberty Safe (@libertysafeinc) September 7, 2023
The company now provides a website where customers can remove the backup locking code from the Liberty Safe data. Many question why the company doesn’t ship out safes without a backup code. AmmoLand News contacted several experienced locksmiths and safe experts and discovered that the codes are hard coded into the digital locking mechanisms, meaning they cannot be removed.
AmmoLand News was informed that almost all safe manufacturers use locking mechanisms from one of a few companies. That revelation means that the vulnerability of a built-in backup code isn’t limited to Liberty Safes. It means that almost all digital safes have the same flaw. It also means that just because your manufacturer doesn’t keep the codes or deletes the code from their system, the danger is removed.
The actual lock manufacturers still have the backup codes. Going to a mechanical lock is the only way to be truly safe. If you must use a digital locking mechanism, the best way to keep your belongings safe is to acquire a new digital lock and have a locksmith install it on your safe. That could be costly, so another cheaper solution, albeit imperfect, is to remove the serial number from your safe and destroy any paperwork containing the serial number. However, the latter is not ideal if you purchased the safe directly from the manufacturer.
“The only way to guarantee no one will get access to your safe combo from the safe manufacturer is to remove the serial numbers from your safe and your paperwork. Change the factory code yourself or hire a locksmith to do it,” said Tony Simon, a 30-year locksmith and founder of Diversity Shoot. “I also suggest safes with a mechanical dial over an electronic safe. Mechanical safes only use one combination. I suggest you change it yourself or hire a locksmith to change it for you.”
With an overbearing government and a need for security, gun owners must take security seriously. If safe company does not maintain a list of override codes it does not mean a government agent or criminal could not get the override code.
About John Crump
John Crump is an NRA instructor and a constitutional activist; he has written about firearms, interviewed people from all walks of life, and read the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.