In the May issue of Townhall Magazine, where this article originally appeared, Bob Owens explains how the ATF is stretching the definition of "firearm" to seize data on law-abiding Americans.
It has always been legal to build your own firearms in America, and has been since well before the United States existed as a country. No forms must be filled out for the federal government and no permission needs to be given. It is your inalienable right.
A Bakersfield, California company by the name of EP Armory is one of many companies selling tools, pieces, kits, accessories, and unfinished parts to help Americans build an AR-15 at home. A key component of EP Armory’s recent success is an unfinished slab of plastic. Aluminum and steel versions of this partially completed part, marketed as an “80 percent lower receiver,” have been sold by many vendors, for a very long time.
What EP Armory did that no previous vendor before them had done was build a version out of plastic that is easier to work with than the common metal parts. They also added built-in guides that made fabricating a working finished part much easier for the average person.
But if there is one thing that we’ve learned from President Obama’s “Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Mexican Firearms Delivery” it’s that they do not want Americans to have firearms similar to those that they jealously horde for their own use.
The ATF took a long, hard look at EP Armory, and came up with a diabolical scheme. They would declare that these plastic parts were completed firearms! Then they would claim that anyone who bought one of these slabs of plastic was in possession of an “illegal gun” that had to be turned over to the government. It was a win-win plot in their simple minds.
They did, however, seem to overlook some small details.
The first mistake the ATF made was not concocting a believable explanation of how these slabs of plastic magically became “firearms.” According to ATF guidelines, once a gun’s lower receiver has been milled out, it is a gun, regardless of whether or not the manufacturer of the lower receiver then goes back and fills in the milled holes before selling it.
ATF claims EP Armory is milling the holes and then filling them in. EP Armory claims that they create the inner plastic “sprue” first, and that the rest of the plastic is then injection molded around it.
Only one of these claims can be true.
A simple trip to the EP Armory assembly line by a competent process engineer would quickly determine which side was telling the truth, which is why the ATF seems to have so far avoided all attempts by EP Armory to show precisely how their partially-completed parts are made.
Not content with raiding and shutting down EP Armory, the ATF then went after Ares Armor, a large distributor of EP Armory’s partially-completed parts.
Ares Armor CEO Dimitrios Karras, who served his country honorably as a Marine, was more than willing to meet the
ATF halfway regarding the EP Armory parts in his possession.
He was willing to provide the ATF with thousands of the EP Armory parts for safekeeping until the company had its day in court. He even segregated them in a locked room and offered the ATF the only set of keys.
Where Karras drew the line was in providing the customer data that proved to be the ATF’s real focus. He filed an injunction to stop the ATF from seizing his customer data.
An assistant U.S. attorney then apparently lied to a magistrate judge about the nature of EP Armory’s parts, describing them unambiguously as firearms in order to circumvent the injunction. Ares Armor was then raided, and all customer data was taken by the government. The ATF even remembered to pick up the partially-completely plastic parts as well.
The ATF is thought to be using the customer data taken from Ares Armor to build a list of not just those who bought the EP Armory lower receivers, but any EP Armory part at all.
Perhaps it’s time to ask Obama’s government why they so fear an armed citizenry.
Bob Owens is the editor of BearingArms.com