When Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents expressed interest in a Southern California gun part and accessory store, it sought the protection of a federal district court. But on Saturday, agents raided the store anyway.
Ares Armor sells what are called “80% lower receivers” to allow a buyer to make his own AR-15 rifle. According to federal law,”The term ‘firearm’” includes “the frame or receiver of” a weapon, but one that is only 80 percent complete does not fall under that category.
When ATF agents began nosing around Ares Armor and started asking questions, the store obtained a temporary restraining order prohibiting the agency from seizing its product line and customer list. A hearing was scheduled for March 20 to litigate the issue.
However, on Saturday, ATF agents raided Ares pursuant to an ex parte order — an order obtained without notice to the other party, in this case Ares — and did just what Ares feared, according to the amateur video below.
In ATF’s ex parte application dated Friday, the agency alleged that it “is conducting a lawful criminal investigation of the illegal manufacture, distribution, sale, and possession of AR-15 variant lower receivers, which are considered firearms under the Firearms Control Act.”
What the agency’s application failed to mention, however, was that none of the items were a complete product — they were “80% lower receivers,” which remove them from the “firearm” definition to be classified as “parts.”
In August, U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., introduced HR 2910, the “Gun Violence Prevention and Reduction Act,” which would define “80% lower receivers” as firearms.
Unless and until that bill is passed into law, ATF had no business making Saturday’s raid. If they claim that the receivers seized don’t meet the definition of an “80% lower receiver,” the issue is one that should more probably be litigated in the courts before raiding a lawful business and seizing everything in sight
The following is amateur video of the ATF raid of one of Ares’ facilities.