Ares Armor, a San Diego company that manufacturers and produces parts for firearms that are legally built at home, has been granted a restraining order against the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. The company is trying to prevent ATF agents from seizing a 5,000 customer list in addition to $300,000 in inventory. ATF is threatening to shut the company down if they fail to turn over requested information.
Why does ATF want a list of customers? ATF has classified plastic receivers as "firearms," while at the same time classifying the same receiver made of metal as legal. ATF wants to see who has purchased a plastic receiver from the company.
"Last week the BATFE Raided EP Armory based on a determination letter that had deemed the 80% Polymer product to be a firearm. The determination letter that the BATFE used to obtain warrants against EP Armory is based on incorrect information about the manufacturing process. The BATFE has been notified of their error and the incorrectness of their determination based on this error. This week on Monday, March 10th the BATFE threatened to raid us even though they are fully aware that their determination letter is factually incorrect. They requested that we turn over a list of every customer that had purchased a polymer lower from us and turn over the remaining inventory that we have," Ares Armor CEO Dimitrios Karras said in a declaration posted on the company website. "Our customer’s privacy is of the utmost importance to us. I cannot in good moral conscience turn over a list of names to the BATFE just because they unduly threaten us with an unjust raid based on information they KNOW TO BE FALSE! For the time we are SAFE! We were granted a Temporary Restraining Order against the BATFE on March 11th."
Thanks to the restraining order being granted yesterday, a raid of the company was stopped outside their front doors. ATF agents who showed up to raid the company were forced to leave. Karras described ATF's request for the list, saying an agent intimidated him "with the possibility of criminal charges if he was not satisfied" and that "I am now in constant fear for the safety of my employees, my customers and myself."
Here is a report from a local news outlet (please ignore the reporter's classification of AR-15s as "assault style" weapons).
The company and ATF are waiting on a court hearing to move forward.
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