The CEO of a gun parts store in California on Monday accused the ATF of trying to obtain the names of nearly 5,000 of his customers by striking a secret deal with him.
Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives “basically said, ‘Listen, we know you’re a legitimate business. We know you’re doing everything fine. Hand over the list of names, hand over this particular product that we have now deemed to be a firearm and everything’s going to be fine. Nobody will know about it. It will be swept under the rug,'" Ares Armor owner Dimitrios Karras said.
"'Nobody's going to know that you handed over these names.'"
Trouble for the business owner started after the ATF ruled that a particular type of 80 percent lower receiver carried by Ares Armor in National City, Calif., failed to meet the agency’s exact specifications.
The receivers in question, which are used in the construction of AR-15 rifles, have been deemed illegal and are being rounded by the federal agency.
Karras agreed to turn over the product, but balked when the ATF demanded a list of the nearly 5,000 customers who had purchased the item from his store.
The California businessman quickly filed a temporary restraining order against the ATF, but it didn’t do him much good. 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.
The federal agency in its application referred to the receivers in question as “firearms,” a designation Karras claims is outright false.
“It’s not a firearm,” he said on Real News. “The ATF knows the information that they put in their determination letter is false. It’s incorrect. It’s based on fiction. It’s a fantasy. They already know that.”
Karras stressed Monday that his business is merely looking for the court to handle the interpretation of laws regarding firearms and firearm parts, not the ATF.
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