Asset forfeiture is the process in which the federal government (and possibly state and local governments as well) seize the money or property of anyone believed to have been involved in criminal or terrorist activity. Since many of the forfeitures are civil actions, the federal government is able to keep the confiscated property even if the person is not charged with a crime.
The FBI says asset forfeiture is a method not just for punishing criminals, but also for disrupting and dismantling criminal and terrorist organizations, as well as compensating victims. The FBI also says asset forfeiture would deter people from being involved in criminal activity.
However, many innocent people have underwent the process of asset forfeiture. And since it is a civil matter, the burden of proof lies with the person whose money or property had been seized, thus making it difficult to get their money or property back. In addition, the individual does not have a right to a public defender.
The federal government has confiscated $45.7 billion via asset forfeiture between 2000 and 2019, and 78% of these cases were administrative, in which the agencies involved had little or no judicial oversight. Meanwhile, the Department of Justice has spent $6 billion in hiring private companies to manage its asset forfeiture investigations.
Red Flag Confiscation Laws
Red flag confiscation laws (also referred to as judicial nullification or extreme risk protection orders legislation) allow judges to determine who will commit dangerous and/or illegal actions and thus issue rulings to prevent such individuals from carrying out such actions. As a result, judges issue temporary nullification orders without having to give the accused the opportunity to respond to such accusations. In addition, individuals affected by such orders won’t know of such allegations until law enforcement arrives to confiscate such firearms.
These laws place low standards when it comes to the burden of proof, e.g. reasonable suspicion, probable cause, or preponderance of evidence.
If an individual is deemed to be dangerous, wouldn’t it make more sense to take that individual into custody? How can it be determined if a given individual poses a threat to society just because he or she owns a firearm? Could a red flag order be issued if someone says something considered to be overblown political rhetoric, e.g. social media? Thus, red flag laws pave the way for the seizure of firearms based on speculation. They are also another method of imposing gun control upon the American people.
Red flag legislation is a violation of the Second Amendment. But red flag legislation (along with asset forfeiture) are violations of the Fourth Amendment, and possibly also the Fifth Amendment.
Needless to say, asset forfeitures and red flag confiscation laws need to be done away with.