Thursday, March 13, 2014

Ares Armor Obtains Restraining Order on ATF

Last week it was released that EP Armory was raided by the ATF. They are the manufacturer of the 80% Jigless Polymer Lower Receiver. An official statement has not been released by the company, but it is fairly clear now that this product is the key focus of their raid. Ares Armor has now announced that they were also targeted by ATF for the 80% Polymer Lower Receiver, which is not a firearm. In order to thwart a raid from ATF, which would confiscate product as well as customer records, Ares Armor has obtained a restraining order. You can see these documents directly below. 

As you can see this restraining order simply gives some breathing room for Ares Armor and allow to the courts decide if ATF can make further actions or if further court proceedings will go forth regarding the matter. The CEO, Dimitri Karras has released his own statement in regard to the matter, which we have provided below in its entirety. It is very interesting that the ATF would focus so heavily on the customer base of Ares Armor when the arbitrary notion of legality for a product can be shall we say interesting at times. 

In regards to the events surrounding Ares Armor’s interaction with EP Armory’s products and the threats made towards Ares Armor by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE.) The following declarations are true and correct to the best of my knowledge.
I, Dimitrios Karras, state:
1. During a meeting with the BATFE around the end of 2012 that was unrelated to EP Armory’s product, the Agent that was present very strongly requested that I turn over Ares Armor’s customer list. He intimidated me with the possibility of criminal charges if he was not satisfied. This was the first attempt the BATFE made to intimidate Ares Armor into turning over private customer information.
2. An 80% lower is an industry term for an unfinished receiver that is not considered to be a firearm.
3. EP Armory manufactures an 80% lower receiver made from polymer.
4. Ares Armor purchases and then resells many products one of which is the 80% Polymer Lowers that are made by EP Armory.
5. In the regular course of business I have seen many different 80% AR-15 receivers.
6. EP Armory’s product is no different than standard 80% receivers that are sold openly and that the BATFE has consistently determined to not be a firearm. EP Armory’s product is in compliance with previous BATFE Determinations and is not a firearm.
7. The BATFE has Raided EP Armory based on incorrect information about EP Armory’s manufacturing process. The determination letter written by the BATFE incorrectly classified the EP Armory product as a firearm based on faulty information. The BATFE was under the impression that EP Armory was making a firearm and then reverting back to the 80% stage by filling in the fire-control cavity. At no point during the manufacturing process by EP Armory is a weapon made and then reverted. The solid fire-control cavity is built first and the rest of the 80% casting is made around this “core” specifically so that their product at no time could be considered to be a firearm.
a. As can be seen in Exhibit 1-3. The BATFE has consistently determined that the machining operations that cannot be performed in order to not be considered a firearm are as follows:
1. Milling out of fire-control cavity.
2. Selector-lever hole drilled.
3. Cutting of trigger slot.
4. Drilling of trigger pin hole.
5. Drilling of hammer pin hole.
b. EP Armory’s product is consistent with the BATFE’s many previous determinations.
c. At no time during EP Armory’s manufacturing process are any of the aforementioned 5 operations in a state that could cause a reasonable person to believe that EP Armory’s product would be considered a firearm.
8. The BATFE has been appropriately informed of their mistake. However, even though they have no determination that is based on fact, they are knowingly using their fiction based determination to intimidate Ares Armor with threats in order to inappropriately gain access to information that is private and should be protected.
9. I received communication on or about 3/10/2014 from our legal counsel (Jason Davis) that the BATFE was in the process of obtaining a warrant against Ares Armor based on their incorrect determination of EP Armory’s Product. I was advised that the BATFE had offered to forego obtaining a warrant if Ares Armor was willing to:
a. Hand over all of EP Armory’s 80% Lowers.
b. Turn over Ares Armor customer’s private information to the BATFE.
In exchange for turning over our customer’s private information the BATFE said that they would not “raid” Ares Armor’s facilities and would not pursue “criminal” charges. This made me feel as if I was being extorted. I agreed to their terms in order to delay an impending and unjust raid against Ares Armor long enough to obtain legal protection under the law.
10. I have been unjustly threatened with raids and criminal charges in an attempt by the BATFE to obtain information that is private and protected. The BATFE has expressed interest in obtaining Ares Armor’s customer list in the past and is now attempting to strong-arm us with undue threats based on information they know to be incorrect. 
11. I am now in constant fear for the safety of my employees, my customers and myself.
Executed March 10, 2014 Oceanside, CA
I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.
Dimitrios Karras

We wish our friends at Ares Armor well, as we know the seriousness of the matter and appreciate their stance in defense of their customer. They are taking great measures to bring innovative products to everyone and we hope this is just one more speed bump along the way. Below you can see Dimitri's recent interview with the local Fox 5 News station in regard to this matter.