National City gun store raided by ATF
The guns and gear sold at Ares Armor of National City are meant to protect the user from an outside threat, but the owner of the store says the greater threat he's facing these days is from the heavy-handed actions of his own government.
Bystanders caught images of last weekend's raid as the ATF swooped in on Ares Armor, a raid that the business owner is condemning as shameful.
“I can tell you,” said Ares Armor owner Dimitrious Karras, “especially coming from serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, I never thought that actions like this would take place on my own home soil.”
The agents were looking for something called 80% polymer blanks. The store also sells a plastic receiver that requires additional parts and machining to become a functioning AR-15 rifle. Karras told the government he was only selling the lower receiver, and the product in that form was not illegal.
“Every single piece of guidance up to this point would point to this product not being a firearm.”
But Karras says the ATF continued to harass him, asking for the receiver blanks and a copy of his customer list.
“It's ludicrous that they would attempt to get personal and private information through means or motives that are obviously ulterior to what's going on.”
To protect his business, he went to court and asked for a temporary restraining order, hoping that would keep the ATF away.
“I went to the courts and I said 'Hey, I'm being threatened, these are the facts of what's going on and this is what I'm being threatened with.'”
But that temporary restraining order did not hold up, because just a few days later a federal judge agreed to give the ATF a search warrant.
“They took our computer systems, they took our paperwork, they took the part that was in question.”
ATF agents who raided all four of Karras' business locations walked off with the product and his computers, which included his customer list.
“I think the government is highly concerned with an individual being able to manufacture a gun made out of plastic parts,” said defense attorney Anthony Colombo, Jr.
Colombo, who's not connected to Ares Armor, says if Karras feels his rights were violated, he can take the government to court.
“He does have a forum within federal court to pursue a remedy against the government, and to challenge them. I would encourage him or anyone else that feels that the government has overreached to do that.”
Karras says this is all just another glaring example of a government that's out of control.
“It's time to not allow these people this kind of authority over your personal life,” said Karras. “It's time to live actually free instead of living in a false sense of freedom that we have right now in our country.”
KUSI called the ATF offices in southern California but received no reply. In the meantime, Karras says he's taking his concerns to Congressman Darrell Issa, who is no big fan of the ATF.