Editor’s Note: On March 15, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agents illegally searched and seized items from Ares Armor, a gun shop located in Oceanside. One of the main things they were after was the store owner’s customer list.
Sometimes old sayings like “I never thought I’d live to see the day,” just don’t reflect reality. If I had used that phrase this past weekend I would have already been way behind the times.
You see, on Saturday, March 15 a quiet, yet huge story was unfolding in Oceanside, California, where a small business that sells gun accessories and parts was raided by the BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives). This should not have happened, because the small business owner had acquired an unprecedented restraining order against the ATF.
The business, Ares Armor, sought the restraining order through their attorney to protect their customer database, and it was signed by Federal Judge Janis L. Sammartino. The order should have protected them from the ATF raid, which the AFT had threatened in advance would happen, should Ares not hand over their customer list.
The ATF was specifically interested in obtaining these customer records. Ares Armor was told that if they just handed over the information that no criminal charges would be filed. This surprised the owner Dimitrios Karras, since they weren’t doing anything illegal in the first place.
According to Ares CEO Dimitrios Karras, on Monday, March 10, the AFT called him and asked him to hand over this information, save them the trouble of getting a search warrant, and everything would be fine.
Karras refused their strong-arm tactics, and in an attempt to protect customer privacy and themselves, did something the ATF did not expect. He sought, and received, a restraining order and went public with the story.
On Friday, March 14, the ATF executed a search warrant (based on false information, according to Karras). The federal agency seized goods, computers and records.
It does not matter which side of the gun issue you are on. This goes deeper – think about it. This could be me or you. Where do we the people turn if lawmakers and law-enforcers break the law? We know now, that the ATF sought secretly to have Federal Judge Janis L. Sammartino overturn the order so that they could get what they want. The owner and staff were on-site as the agents broke in, guns drawn and were told in so many words it could have been a lot easier if you had just given us what we wanted, but you went and made us look foolish in the media and for that, we are now sweeping through each of your locations, warehouse and all and taking what we want anyway.
You can watch the video yourself as astonished, outraged and honestly saddened onlookers watched the whole thing go down. As the video rolled I couldn’t help but noticed how they caught their own reflection in the glass. I saw my own reflection of an outraged American citizen thinking I’d never thought I’d see the day…
Keep reading the Desert News Post for continuing coverage of this and related stories.
WATCH THESE VIDEOS:
ATF Raid Video: http://youtu.be/6gsmlJSpWvk
ATF Raid Video: http://youtu.be/6KFjjLXDZ4E
Hear Ares Armor owner Dimitrios Karras (before raid)
on Josh Tolley Show: http://youtu.be/ddWv_2YiQ7g
Hear Ares Armor owner Dimitrios Karras (after raid) on Stewart Rhodes Show: