Gun store owner seeks congressman’s help after ATF raid

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OCEANSIDE, Calif. – The battle between an Oceanside gun parts store and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives continued to escalate Wednesday, as the store owner told Fox5 he will be reaching out to a local congressman.

Dimitrios Karras, owner of Ares Armor, said he will ask Rep. Darrell Issa (R-San Diego) for help after his shop was raided by armed ATF agents over the weekend.  They confiscated computers, customer lists and the questionable polymer 80 percent lower receivers.

Karras claims the ATF agents are acting illegally.

“These people are overstepping their boundaries. This is a rogue agency that has pretty much gone wild,” Karras said. “I’m going to be going over to local congressman’s office in an attempt to garner some support.”

Karras said the fight has nothing to do with firearms. The issue was the sale of a newly manufactured product called a polymer 80 percent lower receiver.  The part has been approved for use by gun enthusiasts to build their own guns, without a serial number, for years, according to Karras.

“This is across party lines and more reaching,” said Karras. “It’s not about gun control – it’s about control.”

A new version of the lower receiver is plastic and is somewhat like paint by numbers. According to the ATF, the part that the owner must drill into to make it a firearm appears to be a separate piece and would makes it illegal to sell.

Gun enthusiast Mark Halcon owns American Shooting Center and is considered a second amendment expert.

“Maybe they were just too readily convertible?” said Halcon, who explained it’s a chicken or the egg scenario with not a lot of guidance. “There is no process for approving an 80 percent lower. There’s no regulation.”

Halcon said he was not surprised to find out the agents took Karras’ customer list.  It’s not uncommon for the feds to ask for the list since the controversial parts eventually become firearms without serial numbers and are not registered.

“If you’re doing everything right and its legal, you got nothing to worry about,” he said. “If you’re buying a dozen of them, building a dozen of them and selling 10 of them to your friends – you got a problem.”

The search warrant provides little information about the raid, and neither the ATF nor the U.S. Attorney’s Office will talk about the case.

However the ensuing battle turns out, Halcon said one thing is certain, “We are going to see changes in law regarding 80 precent receivers and the manufacturing of it. I think this is going to be a long and expensive litigation for both parties.”

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