Fighting Back Against Civil Asset Forfeiture

Citizens Fight Back Against Civil Asset Forfeiture

Civil Asset Forfeiture is not a new thing. It has been a part of international law for centuries. British military seized booty stolen by pirates on the open seas. Customs officials confiscated goods from smugglers. As a result of limited resources and murky borders, military, and law enforcement seemed to have little choice if they wanted to stop illegal activity.

Civil asset forfeiture has taken a turn for the worst, letting law enforcement agents seize property without proof of any crime. In most cases, the owner of the property will never get it back. People that fight the system spend thousands of dollars in legal fees without any guarantees. Defendants cannot have legal counsel, causing many to give up the fight before they’ve begun. Many believe that policing for profit has gone too far, but lack the information to fight back.

State Facts

Civil asset forfeiture laws vary widely from state to state. Lawmakers have introduced bills to change the law to protect citizens. Lawmakers are studying federal laws. The statistics below are as of 2018:

  • Federal court and 35 states require the owner to prove his innocence.
  • In 5 states, laws depend on the type of property seized.
  • In 10 states and the District of Columbia, the government has the burden of proof.
  • Some states require citizens fighting asset forfeiture to pay the state’s legal fees.
  • In 25 states, law enforcement keeps 100 percent of forfeited assets. In nine states, law enforcement retains 80 percent or more of seized assets.

Recent Reform

Several states are taking steps to restore rights to their people. The judiciary is speaking out against civil asset forfeiture on a regular basis. In June 2017, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of civil asset forfeiture victims. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas vehemently opposed civil asset forfeiture during a case in March 2017.

Recent reforms by the state include:

Arizona

In April 2017, the Arizona State Legislature unanimously passed a bill on civil asset reform. Lawmakers were not clear on the new law, but it raises the burden of proof for law enforcement agencies.

California

In January 2017, a new law took effect requiring a criminal conviction before seizing any assets valued less than $40,000.

Connecticut

Connecticut requires an arrest before assets can be seized. Assets must be returned unless there is a guilty plea or conviction.

Georgia

The State of Georgia passed a modest civil asset forfeiture law in 2015. The law requires transparency and that funds raised from forfeiture must be used directly for law enforcement. Despite the reform, Georgia remains at the top of states with the worst civil asset forfeiture laws.

Minnesota

The state legislature passed bill SF 874, requiring a criminal conviction or an admission of guilt in order to seize assets. The state is now responsible for the burden of proof.

New Mexico

The state legislature passed a sweeping reform requiring a criminal conviction for asset forfeiture. Additionally, the asset forfeiture fund is attached to the state’s general fund instead of the seizing police department.

Pennsylvania

In June 2017, Pennsylvania passed a law creating innocent owner protections and increasing the burden of proof on police departments involved in civil asset forfeiture cases. The law requires a hearing before property can be seized.

Tennessee

State Representative and former state trooper Barrett Rich introduced a bill requiring a warrant for seizure, but was voted down. An amended version was passed, requiring an immediate hearing for property owners.

Texas Citizens Fight Back

Texas has the worst civil asset forfeiture laws in the United States. Horror stories abound regarding forfeiture.  Texas Appleseed, a criminal justice reform advocacy group, has released a guide showing citizens how to fight back. Lawyers created a free toolkit for citizens. Defendants can use sample pleadings to fight forfeiture in court.

Jacqueline M. Allen, an attorney with Dykema, helped the group create the toolkit. “People in civil asset forfeiture cases do not have the right to court-appointed counsel, so this toolkit is designed to empower people with the knowledge they need to get their property back if they cannot afford to hire an attorney and if they cannot find free legal help.”

Protect Yourself

You may think it’s impossible to protect yourself against civil asset forfeiture. However, it’s not always the case. Below are tips that can help to protect you and your property:

  • Establish innocent ownership. You should require renters to sign a lease with a clause stating that illegal conduct is prohibited on your property.
  • Do thorough background checks on renters and house sitters.
  • Exercise dominion over your property. You should visit your rental property regularly and keep documentation of the visits.
  • If you carry large amounts of cash, obtain fresh bills from your bank. Nearly 90% of all money has drug deposits on it, which can be used as evidence of criminal activity.
  • Record actions taken to prevent illegal activity on any property that you own or rent.

Can Asymmetrical Warfare Succeed?

Modern-day militias

Merriam Webster defines asymmetrical warfare as “warfare that is between opposing forces which differ greatly in military power and that typically involves the use of unconventional weapons and tactics (such as those associated with guerrilla warfare and terrorist attacks).”

The term is linked to “guerrilla warfare,” “insurgency,” and “terrorism.” It is a violent conflict between a military faction and a less formal, and less equipped, but motivated opponent.

Traditionally, when two factions go to war, the sides tend to be “symmetrical,” i.e., equally matched in experience, weaponry, resources, and technology. The main difference between the two is their strategy and execution. In asymmetrical warfare, the sides are not equal. The military is well trained; it uses a centralized base, and is well resourced. The “weaker” side, typically non-military, does not have a centralized base or the same caliber of training. While these facts make the stronger side the apparent victor, that is not always the case.

History

Asymmetrical or militia warfare is not a new concept, nor is it connected only to the Western world. There is a multitude of history on citizens revolting against a government, tyrannical or otherwise. In fact, the first written reference details England’s 1181 Assize of Arms:

“He will possess these arms and will bear allegiance to the Lord King, Henry, namely the son of Empress Maud, and that he will bear these arms in his service according to his order and in allegiance to the lord king and his realm.”

The concept carries through countless battles throughout Europe as well as parts of Eastern Civilization. When the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution, they included one of the aspects that allowed them to win the Revolutionary War – asymmetrical warfare in the form of militia.

“Congress shall have the power to: provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.”

The Second Amendment added: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Rebels

Many people associate militia warfare with historical battles. Examples: the Battle of Thermopylae, the Battle of Crécy, the French Revolution, the American Revolutionary War, and the Vietnam War.

Modern-day militias are categorized in a different way as loyalties splinter. While some fight against the tyranny or government, others single out specific groups in a xenophobic fashion. Still others commit acts against foreign governments. Asymmetrical warfare, guerrilla warfare, and terrorism are often synonymous. However, by definition, they are not the same thing. One of the main differences is that terrorists prey upon innocent victims.

Modern warfare

Tactics

A major difference between symmetrical and asymmetrical warfare is the use of tactics. The military faction relies on political threats, a centralized base, formal communication systems, field training, weapons, government funding, and technology. What the non-military side lacks in formal resources, they often make up for in resolve and strategy. Decentralized communication and resources make it difficult for the enemy to sabotage funds and technology. A standard strategy is to break the resolve of the enemy. This is accomplished by attacking their infrastructure in small ways. Another main benefit, one that has often won the war, is knowing the lay of the land.

Terrain

Two of the most famous warmongers in history lend their wisdom to this topic.

Sun Tzu, author of the oft-quoted The Art of War, firmly believed that knowing the area in which a war was waged was vital, as was the potential dangers and distance: “Those who do battle without knowing these will lose.”

Likewise, Chairman Mao Zedong stated, “The guerrillas must move amongst the people as a fish swims in the sea.”

Militia tends to fight in the area in which they live and have trained. Knowing the terrain and its characteristics, hills, valleys, rivers, swamps, temperatures, wildlife, woods, and roadways, has won many wars. There are areas in which technology, including GPS, will offer little if any, help. Firsthand knowledge is key. It allows the rebels to hide, plan sneak attacks, plan multiple escape routes, or lure the enemy into treacherous territory. These tactics apply in both rural and urban areas.

In the American Revolutionary War, Patriot Lieutenant Colonel Francis Marion, a.k.a. the “Swamp Fox,” used knowledge of the South Carolina wilderness to confuse British forces.

In 1941, Yugoslav Partisans formed a militia throughout mountain villages and fought against the Third Reich by using knowledge of the rough terrain to survive. They forced their enemies back, managing to recover resources and grow into the Yugoslav Army.

Ins and Outs of Self-Defense

The increased awareness of violence in our society has been the impetus for citizens taking measures for protection whether it’s on the street, in a public venue, or in the safety of one’s home. Self-defense is the act of protecting oneself from harm. This generally means an act of aggression on the part of another. There are various forms of self-defense from calling law enforcement to avoidance, confrontation, and at times, the use of a weapon. Each has its benefit, but you should use the utmost care and intention. The decision of which method of self-defense to use is vital and depends upon the situation and the individuals.

Law Enforcement

In many cases, calling law enforcement is the best form of self-defense. Officers can deal with most situations in an effective manner. This may be the wisest choice if someone is prowling outside the home or following you on the street. There are times, however, when calling law enforcement may not be the best option. This is especially true if someone confronts you with violent conflict or police are not immediately available in your area.

Self-defense Techniques

Self-defense techniques vary widely from carrying a personal alarm to verbal de-escalation, although most people think of martial arts when it comes to physical self-defense. Most communities have programs wherein basic self-defense classes are offered. Gyms, martial arts schools, and community centers are good places to start when looking for training classes. Programs typically combine forms of martial arts to teach students how to avoid dangerous situations, get out of choke holds, or disarm a perpetrator. When considering a class, be sure that the instructor is qualified to teach and can offer the best instruction based on your physical health and situation. Once the class is over, don’t file away the information and forget it. Practice with family and friends to stay prepared.

Armed

Armed self-defense is common, particularly in a person’s home environment. However, with weapons there’s a chance that someone can get hurt. The most common form of armed self-defense is the use of a handgun. While it may be the most effective, the user needs to know how and when to use the weapon. An untrained person is far more dangerous than a criminal and more often than not will cause unnecessary damage.

Before choosing a handgun, do your homework. Research popular calibers and brands to learn which might be the best fit and then visit a reputable dealer who can give professional advice. Obviously, you will want to take safety training classes and practice on a regular basis even after you feel comfortable handling a weapon. Lastly, when it comes to using a weapon for self-defense, don’t ever pull it unless you intend to use it. And if you use it, make it count because you might not get another shot.

How To Make Sure Your Fiocchi Ammo Serves You Well In Self Defense

Self defense and ammo are terminologies that feature quite prominently in the current world. Insecurity, crime, burglary and other forms of attack have been increasing at an alarming rate. More often than not, we hear about people getting attacked or shot at their own homes or offices. Such incidences have influenced people to acquire ammo as a way of protecting themselves as well as their families. Using the ammo in the right way guarantees you of maximum satisfaction. The ammo will only serve you well if you follow the guideline below:

Right Product

Prior to acquiring a new rifle, shot gun, hand gun as well as bullets, it is important to find the best product in the market. Is the ammo dealer reputable? Will the product serve me right? What is the public’s opinion concerning the particular brand? What sort of opinions and reviews does the brand get? Such kinds of questions help in making the right decision. Over the years, brands such as Fiocchi ammo have become popular choices in regard to self defense.

Practice

The ammo is as good as your skill! Having the best gun or rifle and high caliber bullet is not all there is to being well prepared in case of an attack. It is also important to also know how to use the accessories. In fact, an experienced person who lacks a good set is more likely to survive an incident compared to an inexperienced person with the best armory. The secret is to practice as often as possible.

Easy Storage and Proper Maintenance of Fiocchi Ammo

No one knows the time that an attacker or intruder will enter your home. Also, it is not possible to be carrying your loaded gun with you all the time. Such limitations call for being able to access the gun or rifle easily and conveniently. It should be stored in a safe location that can be accessed easily. The gun should also be kept in a cool and dry region and regularly maintained. This minimizes the possibility of it jamming when you need it most.

Buying a gun, rifle and related accessories such as bullets should not be taken lightly. A lot of care and due diligence should be observed while making a purchase. Many people overlook issues such as stopping power, recoil, weight of the gun, type of bullets and more. However, this should not happen. It is important to take time when choosing the right product. This is the only way it will serve you well.

What You Need To Know About Gun Self Defense

It’s 2:00AM.

You are sound asleep when you hear a loud bang coming from downstairs. You reach into the nightstand and pull out your handgun and fumble around and load in some 9mm ammunition.

Slowly you creep downstairs and………..how would you finish that sentence?

How would having a gun impact your approach to self defense?

Would you run downstairs and start shooting?

Would you attempt to call the police the hide and use your gun only in a life and death situation?

The truth is that each person handles situations differently and there is no absolute truth as to what to do. However, it is important to remember a few basic rules to help prevent something catastrophic from happening.

Guns Can Be Used to Intimidate Intruders

First and foremost, in a self defense situation guns are primarily used for intimidation rather than being used to actually harm someone. Statistics show that law abiding citizens don’t often harm criminals. Odds are that you probably won’t have to discharge your firearm. Therefore, initially some find it best to scare the intruder at first by just simply pointing the gun at them. Remember never to point the gun at something you’re not willing to shoot, but in this instance shooting may be necessary. The intruder may or may not try to flee, and if they do then the next step depends on your comfort level. Keeping safety in mind, the safest choice would be to let them flee and then immediately call the police. Chasing them or subduing them is usually not recommended as they could be carrying a gun or fight back.

What to Do If the Intruder Doesn’t Run?

If the intruder does not flee and decides to fight then it may be time to discharge your weapon in the act of self defense. If the situation reaches this point then it is time to practice all that you learned up to this point. However, your memory may be a little shaky and your body may not respond the way you want it to due to adrenaline. Regardless, exercise the basic rights of firing a gun. Hold the weapon in the firing-ready position. Steady the gun with your other hand. Keep your thumbs clear of the hammer. Steady your stance. Develop your sight picture and focus the aim on the intruder. Slowly squeeze the trigger, and follow through. If all goes well, the intruder has been incapacitated and you are able to get to safety and call the police.

Remember, it is better to have a hand gun and not need it than need it and not have it. Stay safe!

Four Reasons Why 5.56 Ammo Is a Great Option for Urban Defense

5.56 ammo is quickly becoming the standard ammo for most developed and rapidly developing countries in the world. Most people believe that we adopted 5.56 ammo because it was less lethal and would wound rather than kill. However this is a myth. The human body is quite weak and a 5.56 round has enough power to bring it down. Thanks to its smaller size, the bullet travels a lot faster. It also has an tumbling effect when it enters the body making it quite deadly. In fact, even the Russians adopted the smaller bullets when they introduced the AK-74 in the 1970s. Here’s 4 reasons why the 5.56 is a great option for self defense.

Lighter Ammo and Weapon Systems

When compared with the 7.62 rounds the 5.56 is significantly lighter. Even the weapon systems that fire these rounds are lighter. One classic example is the lighter weight and maneuverability of AR15s over much larger and bulkier AK47s. From the perspective of home defense option, the lighter round and rifle reduces the reaction time and can easily be used my women and aged individuals.

Carry More Ammo

When going on hunting trips or just venturing outdoors for some target practice, the smaller and lighter rounds enables you to carry more ammo. In fact, it’s almost half the weight of a standard 7.62 round.

Ammo of The Future

If you are fond of carbines and lighter advanced weapons systems then you have to switch to 5.56 rounds. The larger rounds are slowly becoming obsolete while newer weapons keeps getting introduced that are based on the 5.56 platform. What this means is when you head to the neighborhood gun store you simply get more options with the 5.56 than you would get with any other round.

Great For Urban Defense

There is a reason why the 5.56 has become the preferred choice of most modern day armies. Thanks to its maneuverability and lighter weight it’s a great choice for urban warfare. This means it also a great option for urban defense. You don’t need a bullet to fly 800m to hit a distant target when its sole purpose is to provide security in an urban environment. Tight corners and constricted space calls for weapons that are accurate at close range, has a good rate of fire, and super light. All of these attributes together makes the 5.56 and their weapons systems the best choice for small houses, apartments, and pretty much anywhere in the city.

Ensure the Security of Your Gun and Your Loved Ones

With the rate of crime going up, many people are buying guns for their protection. When guns are bought, people mainly focus on how to use them safely. Couple of hours of practice at the shooting range is enough to build up the confidence. But what is equally important is keeping the gun safely. You must consider the importance of keeping your guns and their 30-06 ammo and other calibers out of reach. It should be kept out of reach so that accidents and injuries are avoided. If minors, untrained people or burglars find the gun, the risk goes up tremendously.

Investing in Gun Safes

This is an investment that’s worth considering. A safe that is extremely sturdy and offers adequate protection is worthwhile. Opt for a safe that has a combination of locks and password security. It is important that only the person who can access the safe knows the password. Apart from keeping it away from the reach of other people, it is important that the gun is secured from all harsh conditions that may result in its wear and tear. Exposure to moisture, dust and similar factors will affect the functioning of the gun, and put the user at risk too. Safety from natural calamities such as floods and rains should also be taken into account too.

The safe should have the ability to withstand fires and all other kinds of harsh impacts. These days, it is easy to find gun safes that are strong enough to survive in high temperatures (caused due to accidental fire or arson) and do not corrode easily.

Proper Anchoring of the Safe

It is good to anchor the safe, irrespective of its size or the value of the gun placed within. At times, burglars just move the safe instead of breaking into it. Anchoring ensures that the safe can’t be moved and along with the combination of locks/password, the guns will be absolutely safe. If your house doesn’t sound like a good option, you can keep your gun in a security firm. Strict measures are taken at such firms to keep every gun safe. Only authorized people can access these areas and the chances of your guns being stolen are almost negligible. The security firm will provide a great degree of protection, but make sure that you have done your bit too. You shouldn’t have a password that is easy to guess(like a family member’s name or birthday). Comply with the rules of the firm.

Storing 30-06 Ammo and Keeping Guns Safe

Keeping a gun safe ensures complete protection of you and your loved ones. Wall safes, floor safes or security firms, choose the one that you think would be the best for you. Guns and your 30-06 ammo (or other ammunition and pellets) are dangerous products, making it even more important you to take appropriate measures to ensure their safety.

All the best.