As the owner of a gun-parts store, Dimitri Karras refused to release the names of his customers to agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. And though Karras secured a temporary restraining order against the agency, members of the ATF executed a search warrant March 15 and stormed the premises for the data anyway.
According to Karras, the ATF was not investigating his business, but rather his customers, and he refused to comply, even as the ATF threatened to shut down his business. Specifically, the agents inquired into the identities of all his customers who purchased an 80 percent lower receiver used to build an AR-15 rifle; the part in question serves as the base of the rifle.
KSWB-TV reports that it is illegal to build an AR-15 rifle without a serial number, but that is only if the base meets the exact specifications set by the ATF.
The ATF claims that the part Karras' store was selling is illegal.
The Blaze explains, “Instead of metal, Ares Armor carries a certain brand of receiver that is made from plastic. It also has markings on it to show gun owners exactly where to drill.... Ares Armor was one of several stores to receive a letter from federal agents demanding they turn over the non-compliant product and the names of the customers who bought them.”
Karras indicates that the letter virtually threatened that Karras was to release the names or that the ATF would come in and take them.
While Karras and his lawyer have told the ATF that the agents were welcome to come into his store and take the allegedly illegal inventory, Karras remained opposed to turning over the names of his customers, citing significant privacy concerns.
“They were going to search all of our facilities and confiscate our computer and pretty much shut our business down,” the Blaze quoted him saying. “The government invades our privacy on a daily basis and everyone thinks it’s okay. This is one of those situations where hopefully the governmental institutions will come in say, ‘This is protected and no you’re not taking it from them.’ "
In anticipation of the ATF's actions, Karras secured a temporary restraining order against the agency.
But that was not enough to stop the powerful government entity.
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Photo: Screen-grab from a YouTube video showing stills of the raid.