Gun store owner refuses to give feds customer list

OCEANSIDE, Calif. – The owner of an Oceanside store that sells various gun parts to build a rifle from scratch refused to turn over his customer list to federal agents.

Dimitrios Karras, owner of Ares Armor, said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents were investigating their business, not for what they sell, but for the people who purchase their products.

80 percent lower receiverKarras said the ATF threatened to shutter their business if they didn’t hand over the names of 5,000 customers who have purchased an 80 percent lower receiver (the base) for building an AR-15.

It is legal to build a rifle from scratch without serial numbers only if the base is manufactured to ATF specifications.  The base is not considered a firearm if it’s sold separately.

A manufacturer made an 80 percent receiver in plastic with a different material and colors which show exactly where the customer can drill making it easier and cheaper to build.  The ATF said it is illegal.

The ATF sent stores, including Ares Armor, letters demanding they turn over the products and names of customers who purchased them.

“They said either give us these 5000 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,” said Karras.

Karras’s attorney informed the ATF to pick up the receivers Wednesday morning at their Oceanside location, but the inventory was not the issue. The store owner said he will not comply with turning over their private client list.

“They were going to search all of our facilities and confiscate our computer and pretty much shut our business down,” said Karras.  “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.”

In anticipation of a raid, they filed a temporary restraining order against the ATF, stopping them from confiscating their property, Karras said.  The ATF has a certain amount of time to respond. If the two parties do not reach a compromise, they will be in court for a preliminary hearing March 20.

180 comments

  • dick

    In my opinion soldiers or real Americans should wait for them to come back and snipe the atf out when they show back up. I mean a lot of Americans like they did in that one movie. Everyone did it to protect everyone else. Killed the real bad guys of the show.. then maybe the federal and state govts will realize that Americans may bend over for ya but we ain’t gonna let you stick it in…

  • Manuel

    California is primarily a democratic state but democrats have turned to using big government as a party platform that has infringed on all of our rights, the U.S. is on the road to regulate news and work against the people rather than for the people. Be smart, smaller government allows us the freedom to prosper. We will never be able to progress as a society if government can’t let us live

  • Kevin Sandifer

    Stand your ground. Dont back down. Much respect, and need more Americans to stand up for our rights. The more we give, the more they’ll take.

  • Jason

    The ATF visited the judge who issued the restraining order (without Ares Armor legal representation being present) to have him overturn the order, and raided Ares Armor (issuing a warrant without the owner being present). Any questions?

  • JAK

    Misha needs to follow up, the Oceanside store was raided Saturday around 1pm. The BATFE sidestepped the TRO and served the warrant they had already. The TRO doesn't affect or impede "criminal" proceedings. THIS is the jackbooted government coming down on all of us, if you don't see it you're BLIND. It's all hinged on the misinterpretation of the BATFE and the 80% polymer lowers actual production method EP armory says the white core is made first then the outer color is injected over it. BATFE says a 100% lower is created first and filled in with the white core rendering an 80% lower which isn't the case. Now pay me for digging up the story and being a journalist for 10 min.

  • Charles

    This store is run by Marine Corp veterans and they need our help to spread the word about what is happening. Tell your friends and visit their website at http://www.aresarmor.com buy a shirt help if you can. I have been a customer of these guys for years and they are really good people standing up for all gun owners rights not just the business. Dimitri (the owner) has said he will stand and fight as long as it takes, and for anyone suggesting they just go elsewhere other than California Dimitri said it best in an interview last month. He said he was raised in southern California and for every pro 2nd ammendment person who leaves CA it weakens the rest of us and that is why he will not run away and will stand up against the ATF even if they throw him in jail.

  • Bill Skadder

    Hopefully people will start waking the hell up. There is a push in Calif. to stop Bullying. We should start with our own govt, the FBI and the ATF. These organizations think they can go any where,do anything, not answer to anyone. "We The People" must start responding to these thugs The law enforcement agencies are trigger happy. Cops are trigger happy, always looking for the opportunity to draw their weapon. It hangs on their side and they feel a strong urge, compulsion to use it, to hear it go "bang". Little people with big egos. We the people are being suffocated by having our freedoms slowly taken away, free speech, free expression. This administration shits all over the Bill of Rights.
    This govt. State and Federal does not want We The People to have the ability to stand our ground. They spy on us while we're taking a dump in our own bathroom. If you don't call, write, e-mail your representative and voice your concern then don't bitch when they come to your home to seize your records. This is still We The People, this is still our country, not their's. We employ them. VOTE< VOTE< VOTE their ass out of office.

  • Thomas

    Building an AR15 from an 80% lower requires a fair amount of skill and work. It is perfectly legal and does require a serial number. This is for personal use only. The ATF has for years made the rules up to suit them, often reversing course on previous "policies". They are known to stretch their interpretation of often vaguely written laws. This has always been worrisome because running afoul of the law as they interpret it can cost you ten years in prison. In this case I believe they are suggesting the polymer lowers are made up of multiple parts when, in fact, the entire lower is made of two different colors of plastic to facilitate knowing how much plastic to take off. The plastic is one solid piece. I have worked on such a lower and I can vouch that these are not two parts. For the ATF to arbitrarily decide that this lower runs afoul of the law is ridiculous. Firstly, the law says nothing about the lower having to be one piece. The law simply states the lower must be no more than 80% complete to qualify as "not a firearm." These lowers have been deemed legal to purchase without treating them as firearms with regards to the law. The same amount of work is involved to convert these two-color lowers into a firearm and for this reason alone it does not run afoul of the previously agreed standard for an 80% lower. This is yet another case of the ATF making it up as they go along.

  • Thomas Jefferson

    Where were the state police? This is tyranny, and the state allowed it. When such overzealous, politically motivated arms of the White House go after lawful citizens (think IRS), the citizens will always lose. Even if the outcome of the court finds the truth, that these receivers are legal, the politicians directing these attacks fully understand that the act will cost the citizens in lost work, lost wages, lost business, and massive legal fees. This is a harassment technique embraced by today's White House. Under the Constitution, our founders never intended the people to fear the government–quite the opposite. Are our prisons so empty of actual violent offenders that the Federal government wants to arrest and imprison peaceful citizens, on fabricated technicalities?

  • Vote Em' All Out

    Maybe the ATF was there because they thought the 80%'s was related to Alcohol and Ares doesn't have a license to produce or sell it…(or some kind of new Tobacco?)

  • mit

    I received an email from Ares today stating the ATF took their customer data on Saturday 3/15/14. "The ATF raided our stores via warrant on Saturday. No, we did not GIVE up the customer list, it was confiscated. Our legal team is meeting this week and as soon as we meet with them, we will be advising customers of what is going on and what comes next. "

  • mit

    The basis for the raids is they think EP and Ares are producing a 100% machined lower and taking back to 80% by pouring in the white polymer. What actually happens is they make the slug and form the lower around it which IS legal so the ATF can SUCK MY (OCK and my Ares lower that I completed, coupled to my Windham Weaponry upper..

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