Ares Armor CEO Tries to Reason with ATF over Customer Privacy; Raid Ensues

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"Ares Armor CEO Tries to Reason with ATF over Customer Privacy; Raid Ensues," produced by Tracy Oppenheimer. The video is about 6 mins.

Original release date was March 19, 2014 and original writeup is below.

"This isn't just a second amendment issue, it's not just a firearms issue. It's an issue of an overreaching government that wants to come into your kitchen, that wants to come into your living room, and just see what you're doing," says Dimitrios Karras, CEO of Ares Armor in Oceanside, Calif.

Last week, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) raided Ares Armor to confiscate 80 percent polymer receivers for AR-15s. These receivers are the lower part of the gun that con

tain the trigger operations when fully completed. The polymer version that the ATF is contesting is not completed and requires the purchasers to finish machining it. The ATF claimed that these are unlicensed firearms, but Karras says otherwise.

"It's an object that's in the shape of a receiver, but it hasn't been completed to a point that it would be considered a firearm," says Karras. "This was a nice way for them to get their arm inside of the business and grab the information that they are actually looking for. To think that this is over a piece of plastic is ludicrous."

Karras says the true reason for the ATF's piqued interest in his shop was his refusal to relinquish the list of customers who had purchased the polymer product. He sat down with Reason TV's Tracy Oppenheimer to discuss why he plans to continue fighting the ATF to maintain his customers' privacy and other Constitutional issues at stake.

"They have trampled on the entire Bill of Rights," Karras says.

About six minutes.

Produced by Tracy Oppenheimer. Camera by Alex Manning and Zach Weissmueller.

Scroll down for downloadble versions and subscribe to Reason TV's YouTube Channel for notifications when new material goes live.

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  1. Still waiting for these ATF agents to be punished for violating a judge’s order..

    /holds breath

    1. Blue
      Blue Bayou
      Blue Moon
      Blue Suede Shoes
      Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On
      Blue Skies

  2. Still waiting for these ATF agents to be punished for violating a judge’s order..

    /holds breath

    1. Hate to be a killjoy, but you can’t kill yourself that way. Eventually you pass out and start breathing. It is a splendid way to give yourself a killer headache though.

  3. As I understand it, the ATF has specific criteria for what constitutes an unfinished” receiver. Either they are, or they aren’t.

    1. Under 80% = unfinished. It’s quite clear.

      1. Its *finished* when the ATF damn well *says* its finished.

        1. According to the ATF, this little piece of metal is a machine gun.

          1. The ATF is known for playing fast and loose with its definitions. They thrive in the space carved out by SC deference that has given agencies the authority to interpret their own rules – even change the interpretations on the fly when its convenient.

            The ATF has seized shipments of *AIRSOFT* receivers, claiming they could be converted for use in firearms. Not completely untrue I admit, it could always be done *once*.

            1. On the other hand – they’ve either been strangely silent (for a government agency) or outright deny responsibility to regulate some things. Bumpfire mechanism for example. Any *other* agency would be all over this, stirring up hysteria over the ‘danger’ of pseudo-automatic fire and be trying to expand their little empire. The ATF says its not within their remit, not their problem. That’s pretty much unheard of for government.

              1. I have an SSAR-15, and it is basically a toy. The only state where it might be illegal is CA, and I don’t want to be the test case. As of now, it is not attached to my AR-15 anymore…

          2. According to the ATF, this little piece of metal is a machine gun.

            I knew it was gonna be a rdias, or maybe a registered lightning link.

            It’s fucking insane. The piece of metal that Playa linked = $25k + a shit ton of hassle to acquire. The one I linked, whic is basically a 5 cent piece of sheet metal goes for around $7k now (and the ensuing legal hassles in acquiring one, of course).

            I can’t think of much else that illustrates so perfectly the insanity that is government.

            1. I was somewhat surprised a couple years back to read that some judge had (finally) struck down the ATF’s rule about “constructive possession” – at least in some instances.

              Until that point the ATF had convicted numbers of people for having all the parts to build firearms in illegal configurations. Just owning the parts – not having them put together. Usually this was having both a rifle and a barrel under 16 inches long which could fit on that rifle. That the two had ever been put together or even any intent of the owner never had to be established.

              I am not sure of the ATF is still able to aply “costructive possession” to machinegun parts or not. I only know that it is no longer an issue to own both an AR rifle at the same time as owning an AR pistol upper.

              1. Trying to find correct info on this sort of stuff is nearly impossible. Most people will advise to err on the side of caution. Not that that will help you if the BATFE sets it sights on you. You could probably build a couple of machine guns in your garage, take ’em out to the desert every few months and shoot them and not have any problems if you are quiet about it.

                On the other hand you could have a few perfectly legal ARs, and a drill press and get raped by these assholes if you start some popular website detailing BATFE abuses. And even if you get off, the legal fees and assorted troubles associated with being arrested on teevee as an illegal machine gun producer pretty much’ll ruin you life.

                As is happening with this company. They are doing things exactly by the government’s book and it hasn’t shielded them from this abuse.

                1. A guy I have interacted with on a gun-related blog (can’t really say I know him) was taken to court over a “machinegun” he built.

                  The reality was that he built a FAL with a semi-auto upper (with the FAL design the upper is the firearm with the serial number on it). The lower (which is not a firearm) was – like lowers on all imported FAL part sets – had the third position for the fire selector which would allow full-auto fire if built with a full-auto upper (and a few other parts that actually effect that capability).

                  The ATF got its hands on this FAL, loaded special ammo with sensitive primers, and cycled it enough times until they finally got a second bullet to fire to prove that it could function as a machinegun. I don’t know what he or his lawyer did to avoid a long prison term but he was facing serious punishment for building a rifle in the method which the ATF had approved and thousands of others had done without problems.

                  Because of this every FAL I build either includes a semi-auto selector or a permanent pin to block the selector from the full-auto position.

                  This is just one facet of the ATF which chaps my butt. They spent an inordinate amount of time and money to prosecute a 68 year old tinkerer who had no intention to break any law and clearly no threat to anybody. The have the balls to come after the average Joe with a SWAT team but real criminals committing violent felonies are too dangerous for their attention.

  4. Warrants? We don’t need no steenkin’ warrants.

  5. You forgot 18 USC 921(a)
    (3) The term “firearm” means
    (F)(y)(T)(w):
    Any object or combination objects which the Attorney General believes is a firearm.

  6. Here, we have a guy in compliance with the law. Then, we have a group of guys pointing machine guns (I guarantee you that they are full auto) at this guy in order to get paperwork that they aren’t legally entitled to.

    Remind me who the bad guys are supposed to be?

    1. The executive telling the judiciary to fuck off?

      I hate to sound like a broken record, but this government is fucking out of control. If the word tyranny sounds a bit strong, it’s not far off.

      1. The entire concept of administrative law is offensive to liberty.

        1. True, given one of the first notes I took in a law class was “Generally, administrative agencies are created to protect a public interest rather than to vindicate private rights.”

          1. Generally=always
            public interest=whatever the people in power want it to mean.

            1. Actually, “public interest” generally means “government interest”. Remember, you’re a member of the public until they want to fuck you, then you’re not, you’re standing in the way of “public interest”.

              Government has always been and always shall be a scam to fool people into thinking they have some stake in the power of the warlords. Guess what? You don’t, especially if you get in their way.

          2. In my business law class, a semester long project was to collect at least 50 newspaper articles about administrative law actions/rulings from Federal to local governments. Write a brief synopsis of the case/ruling and compile it all into a notebook. It was pretty depressing to open the newspaper on any given day, and find at least 5 articles. And my synopses always seemed to end up with, “because that’s what the regulator decided to do to this company on that day.” I could have saved a lot of time and just written “Fuck You That’s Why” under each article.

            1. Are we trading regulatory overreach stories? Cool.

              In what I think was the first class session of Administrative Law, the prof sent around a copy of the Federal Register and asked everyone to make a comment on it. She seemed to be positively gushing about the scope of administrative law. I looked in the index and found a regulation about something absolutely absurd, I’m going to say maybe the milk content of ice cream. My comment was along the lines of “This seems like a lot of regulation of minutiae.” I think the sense of my comment was lost on her.

              AdminLaw fellators are fucking weird.

              1. “the prof sent around a copy of the Federal Register”

                You mean digitally, right? Otherwise, it would have taken a dump truck.

            2. I forget who it was, but we were having a discussion (yesterday?) on the impact a Paul presidency could make on liberty in the absence of a like-minded Congress. The following was put forth:

              President could issue an executive order for all regulatory agencies to stop enforcement of all regulations not directly voted on by Congress. He could change their charter from writing regulation to one of simply recommending regulation for Congress to vote on, and more importantly putting Congressmen on the record for them.

              I thought that a promising notion. It would be interesting to see if Congress would claim the executive overstepped his bounds, claiming Congress delegated their authority to the regulatory agencies, having overstepped their powers in doing so?

              Thoughts?

              1. I’m 99% in favor of that, maybe 100% as I think it through.

                What’s your take on FAA rule making? Do you think that Sheila Jackson Lee (or whomever you think is the dumbest member of congress) should have a vote in what kinds of aircraft are safe?

                1. SLD: The marketplace should determine which aircraft are safe. You know what I mean…

                2. What’s your take on FAA rule making?

                  I think 90% of the regulations the FAA makes are self-serving bullshit. Their regulation impedes growth and innovation. As if it’s in the best interest of airlines to kill their customers.

                  That said, I don’t see it (the FAA) being eliminated any time soon, but under the new paradigm, it would be up to the FAA to convince Congress of the need for a law.

                  Unfucking the existing regulations would be a mess, so perhaps he could forgo the first part, for ease of implementation, and simply say no new regulations without congressional approval.

                  Of course, the next president can simply undo it with another order.

                  1. From the airshow yesterday:
                    The Northrop N9MB Flying wing.

                    1. Didn’t know there were any still flying.

                      How were the Blue Fairies Angels?

                    2. Awesome, but a small part of the overall show. A little loud for the kids, though. Lots of other cool stuff. A rocket car (0-400mph in 8 seconds) that raced and beat a T33 with a running start, a Korean war reenactment with a Mig and Sabre in a dogfight, the red bull helicopter doing flips and loops, my kid wiping his greasy hands all over the LAPD Lamborghini, and a C130 doing a tactical landing with in-flight thrust reverse (or what ever the prop plane equivalent is). All in all, totally worth the 2 hour drive…

                    3. Or, as you know it, “work”.

                    4. LAPD Lamborghini,

                      I was hoping that was a joke.

                      Well at least it doesn’t appear to be an Aventador.

                    5. C130 doing a tactical landing with in-flight thrust reverse (or what ever the prop plane equivalent is)

                      Did they do the whole shebang- nap of the earth flying before the landing, followed by half the “cargo” ralphing and the other half holding it back?

                3. (or whomever you think is the dumbest member of congress)

                  No, I think you nailed it.

  7. Reminds me of that reporter who refused to turn over her sources. Shortly afterwards she gets raided for some trumped up bullshit, only to discover all her private paperwork had been taken.

    The reason they use SWAT teams for this bullshit is because a citizen might tell a single or pair of officers to fuck off. They use SWAT teams to make it clear they if they don’t get their way you’re going to die.

    Land of the free.

  8. Often I wonder if the actual Nazi Gestapo of the late 1930’s, when enforcing the will of the party, genearlly showed up with guns out of just sent a couple guys in uniform.

    My point being that it seems to me that where America is today may have even overtaken our prime example of a police state in its willingness and ability to bare its fangs at its “citizen” in getting its way.

    1. The Gestapo absolutely was not as publicly violent as our heros in blue.

      And neither were the communists in the Soviet Union – American’s used to mock that people in the SU feared the midnight knock on their door. Now, in the land of the free, it’s a paramilitary assault complete with
      automatic weapon fire and incendiaries.

  9. You guys and gals have all of the intentions wrong. See, the ATF has little to no respect or credibility left after that, what did ABC/CBS/NBC/CNN/MSDNC call it ? OOPS, they didn’t call it anything, we called it “fast and furious”. They need a new straw purchase customer list to trick people into killing colleagues for them in order to demonize the instrument when they themselves are that very instrument. Call the Connecticut actors guild and make another movie to end the ability to thwart tyranny. I wear my sarcasm as a badge of honor. Remember that movie where only cops and military (one in the same now) were the only ones allowed to have guns, “Schindlers list”, yeah, that’s it.

  10. The ATF is the modern day Einsatzgruppen.

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