At around 1015 AM PDT, Saturday, March 15th, the BATFE executed a search warrant on SoCal-based Ares Armor. Several websites have reported that this raid was illegal because Ares Armor had been granted a Temporary Restraining Order earlier in the week by a federal judge of the US District Court, Southern District of California. This TRO prevented BATFE from executing a warrant based on what Ares Armor considered incorrect information regarding the 80% AR-15 lowers from EP Armory they had been selling.
Unfortunately, for Ares Armor, District Judge Janis L. Sammartino of the United States District Court, modified the TRO Friday afternoon. His order prevents Ares Armor from divesting itself of inventory and records. This prevents them from destroying or removing any evidence BATFE may be after. Also, the modification To the TRO clarifies that it does “not restrain lawful criminal proceedings.”
Ares Armor claims they were willing to give BATFE any unsold 80% lowers but that they would not provide BATFE with a list of their customers. This was the primary reason Ares Armor sought out the TRO in the first place.
BATFE asserts that Ares Armor has had in its possession thousands of firearms in the form of 80% lowers and, as they do not possess an FFL, this is a serious issue.
Ares Armor on the other hand, sold what they thought were perfectly legal, non-firearms in the form of 80% lower receivers for the AR-15. This means that they are only 80% complete and cannot function. Heretofore, it has been perfectly legal for individuals to purchase these non-firearms, which are simply machined aluminum or polymer and complete them on their own, for their own use, without serial number. BATFE has long held 80% receivers are non-firearms. We await to see what rule changes will be announced by BATFE that may affect the status of all 80% completed firearm blanks.
Tags: Ares Armor