A popular gun safe manufacturer is receiving backlash from conservatives after helping law enforcement access a safe owned by a man who reportedly attended the Capitol riot.
In a statement on Wednesday, Liberty Safe, described as “America’s #1 Safe Manufacturer,” said it was asked by the FBI on Aug. 30 for the access code to a safe belonging to an individual who had been served a search warrant.
“Our company’s protocol is to provide access codes to law enforcement if a warrant grants them access to a property,” the company said. “After receiving the request, we received proof of the valid warrant, and only then did we provide them with an access code.”
Liberty Safe added that it was unaware of any details surrounding the case before stating that it has repeatedly denied requests for access codes in the past when a warrant wasn’t present.
“Liberty Safe is devoted to protecting the personal property and 2nd amendment rights of our customers…” the company said.
The man in question, 34-year-old Nathan Hughes of Arkansas, has been charged with a felony offense of civil disorder as well as numerous misdemeanor offenses related to his actions at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
The popular conservative duo known as the Hodge Twins reportedly learned from Hughes, who they say is a friend of theirs, of Liberty Safe aiding the FBI.
“The FBI turned off his security cameras, unplugged his internet, and flipped his house upside down in a search” they wrote. “The feds called the manufacturer of his Liberty Gun Safe and got the passcode to get into it too.”
While Liberty Safe’s statement does not name Hughes, the timing of their response suggests that the incident is related. Liberty Safe did not respond to requests for comment from the Daily Dot regarding Hughes.
Given the apparent backdoor in the company’s safes, conservatives immediately vowed to boycott Liberty Safe while bombarding it with complaints. Some right-wing users even began comparing Liberty Safe to Bud Light, which was boycotted by conservatives after sponsoring a transgender influencer.
Others threatened to return or cancel their orders for safes from the business following the revelation.
“I just ordered a $7000 liberty safe on Saturday. A Lincoln 50 with all the fixings,” the popular right-wing user TheQuartering wrote. “I am making a call tomorrow to cancel.”
Some even labeled Liberty Safe as traitors to freedom while using hashtags such as #BoycottLibertySafe.
“Goodbye Liberty Safe,” another tweeted. “Traitors to Freedom and your customers.”
Numerous users also questioned the wording of Liberty Safe’s statement, suggesting that the company was not required to help the FBI gain access given that the warrant was for Hughes and not the company itself.
“To be clear, if this wording is correct, the FBI had a warrant for the property, not for Liberty Safe themselves to give them access,” one user wrote. “Liberty complied with a ‘request’ and did not offer resistance such as ‘we will provide you the code if you get a court order stating we need to.’”
Details surrounding the case remain scant. The FBI thus far has not publicly commented, likely due to the ongoing case against Hughes.
Since the controversy broke, Liberty Safe has disabled the ability to reply to its tweets addressing the issue.
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*First Published: Sep 6, 2023, 10:31 am CDT
Mikael Thalen is a tech and security reporter covering social media, data breaches, hackers, and more.