The police state and the ATF raid of Ares Armor

On Friday, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) attempted a raid at Ares Armor, a California company that sells parts and equipment to make and lawfully modify an assortment of weapons. That raid was temporarily nullified by a restraining order Ares Armor had against the ATF.

Over the weekend, the ATF found a judge who would let them do what they want; they came back, and took what they wanted — including computers that may hold Ares Armor’s 5,000 person customer list.

Ares Armor sells, among a long list of products, 80 percent lower receivers. With the receiver, and the right equipment, a person could make their own AR-15 without having to have it registered with any state or federal agency, and no serial number is required. These weapons are not for resale, yet the process — and the sale of the 80 percent lowers — is completely legal.

The ATF has made a determination that polymer 80 percent lowers are a problem. That, allegedly, they can be made 100 percent, and then filled-in with plastic to bring them back to 80 percent. This plastic could be of a different color, making it easier for the end user to know how to turn it into a working weapon.

This rationale was used in a raid against EP Armory, which supplies 80 percent lowers for Ares Armor. Ares Armor CEO Dimitrios Karras stated that this new ATF interpretation is incorrect, and was able to get a restraining order against them.

The ATF did not relent, claiming their raid was part of the case against EP Armory based on their new “determination.” According to Guns.com:

U.S. District Judge Janis Lynn Sammartino granted an ex parte application order to the ATFFriday afternoon, which set the stage for Saturday’s raid. The order set aside the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and prohibits Ares Armor from taking any steps to “destroy, transfer, sell, or otherwise divest themselves” of the polymer lower receivers in its inventory. In an ex parte filing, the other party is not generally given an opportunity to oppose an action or even given notice that it is being asked for.

With the court order in hand, the ATF was eligible to proceed with a search warrant from the U.S. Magistrate for the lowers in question, as the TRO did “not restrain lawful criminal proceedings.” The ATF delivered the search warrant Saturday.

U.S. District Judge Janis Lynn Sammartino granted an ex parte application order to the ATF Friday afternoon, which set the stage for Saturday’s raid. The order set aside the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and prohibits Ares Armor from taking any steps to “destroy, transfer, sell, or otherwise divest themselves” of the polymer lower receivers in its inventory.

In an ex parte filing, the other party is not generally given an opportunity to oppose an action or even given notice that it is being asked for.

With the court order in hand, the ATF was eligible to proceed with a search warrant from the U.S. Magistrate for the lowers in question, as the TRO did “not restrain lawful criminal proceedings.” The ATF delivered the search warrant Saturday.

Video taken by protestors show ATF agents breaking into a safe inside one of the Ares Armor locations:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KFjjLXDZ4E]

80% lowers have been a subject of discussion for the anti-gun crowd. In 2013, Rep. Henry Waxman introduced HR 2910 – The Gun Violence Prevention and Reduction Act of 2013 – which, in part, would define 80% lowers as firearms. It would also ban the concept of “do it yourself” guns.

A legal product was – at the whim of a government agency with no elected officials – deemed unacceptable. A lawful company that adds to the local economy of Oceanside and National City, CA had their rights violated. Property damage was done, and products and sensitive information stolen, including potentially a list of all of Ares Armor’s customers.

When people talk about the rise of the police state, they mean this.


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