ATF Leatherman tool kits inscribed: "Always Think Forfeiture.”

(UPDATE: Erika Bolstad says: "I saw your item about Rep. Bill Sali, and as the reporter who wrote the original stories about the ATF issue (in a newspaper, at least; this has been an issue on some Second Amendment and property rights blogs for a few months) thought you might want to consider other versions of the story. Here's the most recent story I wrote about it.)

Good for US Representative Bill Sali (Idaho) for stopping the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from issuing Leatherman tool kits to agents with the motto: "Always Think Forfeiture.”
Sali learned of the issue after a constituent brought the purchase to his attention. ATF said the tools were to be used as part of its Asset Forfeiture Program, which provides training to federal, state and local law enforcement. But Sali said the “Always Think Forfeiture” motto engraved on agent tools sent the wrong message to law-abiding citizens.

“Americans have a right to keep and bear arms. We have a right to private property. But ATF, through its engraved motto, sends a message that these rights are secondary to the government’s apparent goal to 'always' seek forfeit of private property. Of course, we all want our law enforcement agencies to pursue and prosecute criminals fully. But I have a problem with a federal agency sending a message, even an unintended one, that law-abiding citizens will apparently 'always' be treated the same as criminals.” said Sali.

The ATF responded with a wonderfully weasely email to Sali's office:
As part of training for ATF special agents and state and local task force officers, ATF purchased a number of Leatherman tool kits engraved with the words ‘ATF – Asset Forfeiture’ and ‘Always Think Forfeiture’ for distribution to the participants. These training aids were designed to increase awareness of the asset forfeiture concept so that persons who do not regularly employ the strategy as part of a criminal investigation might be reminded to consider it. [emphasis mine] We regret that ATF’s training initiative created a misperception. However, be assured that ATF’s Asset Forfeiture Program complies with Federal law and Department of Justice guidelines. As a result of the concerns brought to ATF’s attention by your constituents, we have halted the distribution of the training aids at issue.”
How about inscribing Leathermans with the motto "Always Think Innocent Until Proven Guilty" so that ATF agents who do not regularly employ the strategy as part of a criminal investigation might be reminded to consider it? Link Reason Hit & Run



    Second prize was a set of steak knives.

    Third prize is you’re fired.

  2. But Mark, then they’d have to change their name to ATIUPG to make it match. Alcohol, Tobacco, Imposing Undeserved Poverty, and Greed?

    Actually that kind of works.

  3. I wish MY Leatherman had been inscribed “Always Think Forfeiture” because it might have reminded me to put it in my checked suitcase the last time I traveled by airline. Instead it was forfeited to TSA. I wonder how many forfeited Leathermans the TSA has in their collection now?

  4. Government is just a business. A big business that you have to do business with.

    Oh, and government can also murder, steal, and kidnap.

    In that sense I liken government more to an armed gang — a gang with flags.

    They’re principally just running the protection racket (i.e. taxes).

  5. I have always despised the concept. Too many opportunities for corrupt institutions to abuse it for their own good. I even wrote a story about it years ago. The premis was that the abatement laws reached their logical conclusion and Detectives were more like commissioned sales men than law enforcement. The main characters first big score was following the Drug Auto siezure auctions and following some rich guy that bought a known drug deales old classic Mustang. Pulled him over on a “Bad Tail Light” and searched the car till he found a seed or something. That gave probable cause to search his house only to finde some drugs of a maid or something. “That first big bust netted me over 500 grand in commissions alone”

    Gawd this shit needs to stop.

  6. I wonder how many forfeited Leathermans the TSA has in their collection now?

    Not many. As I have understand it, they sell them. For personal profit. On eBay, sometimes.

  7. I’d presumed that this slogan was talking about getting your Leatherman confiscated at the airport…

  8. Actually, maybe we could use this! Pick an attractive item that was sure to be confiscated. Build into it some kind of transmitter/recording device. Presto! We get to find out what’s going on behind the scenes.

  9. Like the motto or hate it, don’t give Sali the credit. The ATF had already stopped using that motto before Sali wrote his publicity letter. The cryptic response led him to believe he’d been the catalyst for change, and he looked like an idiot (which, if you live in Idaho or pay attention to politics, is no surprise.) Anywho, here’s the story:

  10. “We regret that ATF’s training initiative created a misperception.”

    Oh shut up. Why don’t these PR flacks just come out and say: “I guess we have to feed you something so here is our non-apology. Now go away.”

  11. Instead of carting off the National Guard (which are supposed to be the state militias until Perpich v. US) to Iraq, they should be sending every swinging ATF Richard and Richardette out to Iraq for the duration. They can confiscated all the things that go boom that the insurgents have. After all, they are a federal agency that was created expressly for that purpose.

  12. @14;
    I looked at the other auctions of that seller of a batch of NTSA confiscated knives. He has about FOUR HUNDRED pairs of nail/cuticle scissors for sale all at once in groups of 20 – 30. Just imagine the mayhem that was averted by the confiscation of those deadly weapons. The mind boggles. Simply boggles.

  13. @#1 mgfarrelly:
    What does it take to search and seize the citizenry’s shit?

    It takes BRASS BALLS to search and seize the citizenry’s shit.

  14. This story is planted by Apple to diffuse the larger scandal over “Bilderberg 2008” ipods.

  15. @17;
    Even though I know it says ‘citizenry’s shit’, my brain keeps reading those words as ‘chickenry shit’. Is my subconscious trying to tell me something?

  16. “so that persons who do not regularly employ the strategy as part of a criminal investigation might be reminded to consider it”

    That IS promoting forfeiture, period. It should only be used if it becomes apparent that it’s truly necessary. But of course, greed always wins– if they think they can rob an honest citizen by using the law, they will.

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