Massey received at “Notice of Seizure and Administrative Forfeiture Proceeding” from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, dated November 19, 2014. In it, the government had listed weapons and ammunition, which, according to their assessment, total $1134.90. This included three .45 caliber and two 7.62 mm weapons, and over 2500 rounds of ammunition — do the math — the weapons, alone, would exceed the BATF total.
It contained both forms and inventories, listing the above items. And, there were explicit instructions on what to do to contest the forfeiture of the property. No compensation offered, just try as you might, ‘we are going to keep this stuff’.
It also cited various statutes, however, when Massey read the statutes, he did not see any applicability. If he goes to trial, the property would be evidence, and, if he doesn’t go to trial, the property should be returned. After all, it is theft to keep property if there was no crime committed with the property. But, after scrutinizing the documents, he realized that this was “civil forfeiture”, the taking of property just because they want to take it.
Now, Massey, not sure if they were trying to trick him into some sort of confession — professing to own weapons that he might not own, and realizing that there might be other traps in the forms that they wanted him to fill out, declined to complete the forms, and simply question their right to take property, under the circumstances.
So, within the time constraints in the document, he chose to respond, via correspondence, rather than government forms. After citing the many statutes that were referred to in the BATF letter, he writes, “I have read those cited sections, and I am at a loss as to what authority is being used to deny the owners said property. I see nothing that begins to suggest such authority within the context of those codes.”
He asks them to be more specific in their cited statute, and he reminded them that, according to the CAFRA Act of 2002, the Burden of Proof lies upon the Government, to wit:
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