Ares Armor was raided by ATF agents despite a restraining order issued by a federal judge last week. The National City, California gun parts stores is owned by Dimitri Karras. The former Marine refused to turn his AR-15 lower receiver customer list over to the federal government as demanded. Karras, said Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) agents wanted to investigate his more than 5,000 California customers who purchased gun parts from his store.
ATF agents threatened to close Ares Armor down i Karras did not turn over his customer list. The customers reportedly purchased a specific 80 percent lower receiver used to build an AR-15 rifle. The lower receiver serves as the base of the semi-automatic rifle. The Department of Justice and the ATF contend that “plastic” lower receivers (polymer not 3-D printed parts) in question are not legal because they do not have a serial number. Some gun owners who have purchased the polymer AR-15 lower receiver maintain the semi-automatic gun part does contain identifying numbers.
It is legal in California to build an AR-15 rifle that has no serial number if the base meets ATF specifications. Karras’ problems stem from selling an AR-15 lower receiver which does not meet current guidelines. Ares Armor makes the gun part out of plastic polymer instead of the ATF mandated metal. Ares Armor was among a handful of stores which recently received a letter from ATF agents demanding that they not only turn the non-complaint gun part over to the federal government, but provide the names of all customers who bought the item as well.
The California gun parts store owner had this to say during an interview with KSWB-TV:
“They said either give us these 5,000 names or we are coming in and taking pretty much anything. Which is a huge privacy concern and something we are not willing to do. They were going to search all of our facilities and confiscate our computer and pretty much shut our business down. The government invades our privacy on a daily basis and everyone thinks it’s okay. This is one of those situations where hopefully the government institutions come in and say, ‘This is protected and you’re not taking it from them.'”
Dimitri Karras did not object to turning over the plastic AR-15 lower receiver to the ATF, his attorney had already invited the agents to come do so at any time. Karras figured a shut down raid was forthcoming and filed a temporary restraining order against the ATF. Until federal judge Janis L. Sammartino determines what the appropriate action is, ATF agents were not supposed to come onto the gun parts store property and confiscate anything. A preliminary hearing is scheduled to review the situation on March 20.
But, on Saturday the ATF agents did enter Dimitri Karras’ Ares Armor gun parts store. If an AR-15 lower receiver is made of polymer and does not contain a serial number, than it is not considered a firearm by the ATF, according to a report published on Townhall:
“Plaintiff Lycurgan Inc, dba Ares Armor (“Ares Armor”) is part of ATF’s investigation because it is in possession of approximately 6,000 of these unserialized AR-15 lower receivers. Further, Ares Armor is not a federal firearms licensee, so it cannot legally engage in the business of dealing in these firearms, let alone ones that do not bear the required manufacturer’s mark and serial number.”
During the Saturday ATF raid on Ares Armor, the agent converged upon the store in full tactical gear and confiscated the AR-lower receivers. Just prior to the raid, both plain clothes and undercover ATF agents allegedly questioning customers outside of the California gun store.
[Image Via: The Truth About Guns]