Feds raid gun parts stores despite court order
SAN DIEGO – With a search warrant in hand, federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confiscated computers, customer lists and the questionable polymer 80 percent lower receivers from four Ares Armor store locations throughout San Diego County over the weekend.
“There were women and children inside our retail establishment when the (ATF) agents came in with guns drawn,” said Ares Armor Executive Officer Dimitrios Karras. “They came into our manufacturing facility with their guns up like they were invading Iraq.”
The raid happened three days after Ares owner was granted a temporary restraining by a judge to stop ATF agents from searching their stores.
The ATF confirmed they were investigating the stores for federal firearm violations.
The case stems from the sale of what is called an 80% lower receiver, which gun enthusiast use to build their own rifles and guns.
Building a rifle with specific versions of the 80 percent receivers is legal. The polymer lower receiver appears to be manufactured differently with two parts, making them a firearm and illegal sell, according to the ATF.
“We did ask the court to clarify if these things were firearms or not,” said Karras. “We did ask for protection as this gets resolved within the court system.”
Karras said they had their polymer lower receivers locked in a closet ready to turn over to the ATF since Wednesday. He was more concerned about the federal agents taking lists of his customers’ information.
“If anybody is a criminal organization that should be investigated, I think they should look in the mirror. We gave them a black eye publicly,” Karras said. “They tried to do an underhanded deal with us. They said, ‘Hey hush, hush. Keep it secret and nobody’s going to know that we took the customer list from you. Nobody’s going to know we took this from you.’”
The investigation has some customers nervous about their right to bear arms.
“I’m on that list, and I’m waiting for the knock on the door to tell me they are here to remove my second amendment rights,” one customer told Fox 5.
ALSO ON FOX5SANDIEGO.COM: