Federal agents on Saturday executed a search warrant on a gun parts store in California, despite the store owner filing a temporary restraining order against their agency.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had demanded that Dimitrios Karras, the CEO of Ares Armor in National City, Calif., turn over the names of nearly 5,000 customers who had purchased an 80 percent lower receiver that reportedly failed to meet ATF specifications.
Karras, a former U.S. Marine, agreed to turn over the receivers, but refused to reveal the names of his customers. He then filed the restraining order.
Here’s what a regular lower receiver used for building an AR-15 looks like. The ones Karras and other stores sold are made from plastic, meaning they aren't up to the ATF's exact specifications (Image source: KSWB-TV)
Federal agents responded by obtaining an ex parte order, meaning they did it without Ares being present, giving them permission to execute a “lawful search.”
The ATF “is conducting a lawful criminal investigation of the illegal manufacture, distribution, sale, and possession of AR-15 variant lower receivers, which are considered firearms under the Firearms Control Act,” the federal agency said in its ex parte application, dated Friday.
Here’s some amateur video of the search:
It’s worth noting that the ATF application refers to the receivers in question as “firearms,” which would seem to be an incorrect application of the term. Outgoing Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) introduced a bill last August that would define 80 percent lower receivers as “firearms,” but the legislation has not passed.
“The ATF did execute a search warrant against all of our buildings today. None of our employees have been detained or arrested. We will be open for business tomorrow,” Karras said Friday in a Facebook post. “We will be back up and shipping out orders on Monday. We wholeheartedly believe that they are WRONG in their actions and we will be relentlessly pursuing remedy through the courts.”
In his post, Karras claimed that he heard an ATF agent say during the raid, "Searching is fun! Paper work sucks."
“Maybe the ATF thinks the Constitution is part of that paper work that sucks,” Karras wrote. “Despicable behavior on their part. This is just the beginning! Thank you all for the support!”
Representatives from the ATF and from Ares did not immediately respond to TheBlaze's request for comment.
(H/T: Weasel Zippers)
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