Wednesday, March 19, 2014
|(photo: Charles Krupa, AP)|
A Southern California seller of firearms components engaged in a legal battle with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) after the agency sought the names of customers who purchased an illegal gun base.
Ares Armor in Oceanside sold thousands of what’s known as an 80% lower receiver (or gun base) used to build the AR-15, an assault weapon.
The ATF says it is unlawful to sell this particular receiver, made of plastic.
Officials contacted the store’s owner, Dimitrios Karras, and demanded he turn over the names of 5,000 customers who purchased the 80% receiver. Karras’ operation was one of many businesses contacted by the agency about the receiver.
Karras refused to comply, prompting the ATF to threaten to shut down his business, he claimed.
“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,” Karras told a Fox News affiliate in San Diego.
“They were going to search all of our facilities and confiscate our computer and pretty much shut our business down,” Karras added. “The government invades our privacy on a daily basis and everyone thinks its ok. This is one of those situations where hopefully the governmental institutions will come in say this is protected and no you’re not taking it from them.”
Karras’ attorney then filed for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to prevent federal agents from raiding his store.
Federal Judge Janis L. Sammartino reviewed the TRO request on March 14 and ordered Ares Armor to not “destroy, transfer, sell, or otherwise divest themselves” of inventory.
The Seattle Gun Rights Examiner reported that the next day ATF agents raided the store, according to footage posted on YouTube.
It also said that the store was still in business following the search, based on what Ares Armor posted on its Facebook page. That page, however, was later taken down.