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Press Release: Congressman Sali Helps Halt Anti-Gun, Anti-Private Property Outrage in BATF

May 16th, 2008 by Halli

From the Office of Rep. Bill Sali

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A federal agency has halted a controversial program giving agents engraved Leatherman tool kits reminding them to focus on the seizure of private property, after Congressman Bill Sali, (R-Idaho), raised objections.
Sali said he will pursue legislation to prevent the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from restarting the marketing program.

The ATF had ordered Leatherman tool kits, engraved with the words “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.

In an email to Sali’s office, the ATF said after hearing the Congressman’s objections, the agency had “halted the distribution” of “Always Think Forfeiture” engraved items.

The ATF email said, “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. 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.”

Because ATF said the program complies with U.S. Department of Justice standards and federal law, Sali said he’s drafting legislation that would prevent ATF from launching similar marketing program.

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