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“An Oceanside store that sells various gun parts to build a rifle from scratch warded off a federal raid Wednesday.” That from, describing some legal fancy footwork done by Ares Armor. What’s their alleged crime? Other than selling 80% lowers – which the ATF has apparently now has deemed “firearms” – made by EP Armory, not much. That, and the fact that the ATF would love to get their hands on the names of people who’ve bought them. The firearms regulators had been pressuring Ares for their customer list for almost two years. And when they didn’t get anywhere, they began to threaten Ares with a raid to take whatever they want . . .

“In anticipation of a raid, they filed a temporary restraining order against the ATF, stopping them from confiscating their property, Karras said. The ATF has a certain amount of time to respond. If the two parties do not reach a compromise, they will be in court for a preliminary hearing March 20.”

Here’s Dimitrios Karras’s affidavit . . .

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

Dimitrios Karras, CEO Ares Armor

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  1. You see, this is why they don’t have the manpower to enforce the actual laws. They’re too busy clamping down on things that aren’t illegal.

      • The ATF is trying to go clean and start a legal business (with the funds from the cartel business), first they have to get rid of the competition.

        • Lolinksi,

          Yes, they are the same. They have been the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms for the past several decades and most people referred to them as “ATF” for Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. At some point in the last several years, they became the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Thus their new acronym would be ATFE. And some people now place the letter “B” (for Bureau) in front of ATFE which is why you sometimes see BATFE.

    • Only if you make the assumption that the ATF does anything useful besides uninformed raids and confiscating toys.

      • or spying on Congress, or the American people, or using Facebook to infiltrate private computers, or removing files from Congressional computers, or lying to Congress, or determining which laws not to enforce. . ..

        • I’ve read that they can infilitrate your cell phone through holes in those silly games like Candy Crush, too, to extract whatever’s stored on the phone or its card.

  2. That is how they work. It doesnt matter if you are REALLY breaking the law. You take the ride and pay to fight them, until you can prove you are not guilty. Even if not guilty you still are bankrupt and out of business… Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? The drug war happened.

    • The BATFE’s tactics are pretty similar to the Mexican Cartels, with a twist to keep to the US legal system. I guess they traded guns for training or at least had some long sessions with Cartel leaders.

  3. they are prohibited by law from building a database of firearms owners. this is not a firearm. thus they cam build a database of people who have bought 80% lowers. this is why they want the customer list, so they know who has potentially become a firearms owner. or is this just a paranoid conspiracy theory?

    • What the law prohibits doesn’t really matter to F-troop. They’re in the business of ruining lives, and Justice Department has taken no interest in prosecuting them for illegal activities.

    • I don’t see what gives them the authority to take a list of anyone’s customers outside of actual firearms (which even firearms, they are prohibited as you point out). They are not the Bureau of Non-Firearms.

      • Well, the point is that ATF contends that they ARE firearms. the ATF enforces a rule (statute?) that once a gun always a gun. ATF says that EPL made stripped lowers (mostly), then filled in the fire control pocket with a polymer to make them appear to be 80% lowers. EPL and Ares say it ain’t so, that the polymer is placed in the mold and the rest of the lower injected molded around it (which it appears to be legal).

    • I don’t even understand why we’re still writing laws. The government ignores them. The criminals laugh at them. The only ones obeying them are the people who either wouldn’t have done that thing in the first place, or who will no longer do what previously had been a perfectly normal and legal activity before the law changed. This whole charade has gone from an unfunny farce to an unconstitutional fraud and it needs to end.

    • Wrong way around. If it’s not a gun, it’s outside their area of jurisdiction. Period.

  4. Does this mean the police will take the atf’s guns I mean there’s a restraining order against them (#) gunsense (sarc)

    • Clever!

      Under CA’s new anti-“law-abiding gun-owners” law you are technically correct… but we all know the King’s thugs are exempt from all laws that the King imposes upon his serfs.

      Now, can someone explain to me how/why the BATFE are NOT fascist jack-booted thugs? Their constant illegal activities and harassment are completely consistent with them being exactly that.

    • Actually, that is a great point. Take away the BATFE’s guns from that local office, as per standard operating procedure upon us peasants.

  5. At this point, the ATF and all the scandals with this organization should be call Eric’s Goon Squad (Eric Holder).

  6. Hey, it’s for the kids. Can you imagine what might happen if an 80% lower got into a child’s hands? They might get interested in industrial arts and end up getting a practical degree, rather than wasting time and money on a liberal arts degree that is worth diddly squat in the job market.

    • Assuming you are serious and not just snarking, the answer is “No.” There are many restraining orders, for example, there can be an order restraining a sale or transfer of real or personal property. Firearms surrenders apply on in the case of domestic violence orders. This is not that type of restraining order.

  7. I like it. It really sucks that it has to be done at all, but there’s always something satisfying about beating someone with their own rules.

  8. Isn’t Ares the place that Nutnfancy posted about recently? San Diego was coming down on them for a billboard with an AR-15 advertising their store.

  9. Sounds like they’re trying to make an example of Ares so other people will think that dealing with 80% lowers isn’t worth the trouble.

    • This will apply only to polymer lowers, and I would think, only to polymers made in the same way that EP Armory allegedly makes them. If it was solid polymer like an aluminum lower, then there can be no issue.

      • Right. Because the ATF will never go after other those other people not breaking the law, they’re just going after these people not breaking the law. Totally different.

      • I recently completed an EA lower. They *are* made that way- it is obvious that this is so when you are doing the milling (I used my drill press and other woodworking tools- it was a lot of fun).

        • It is pretty obvious simply from the fact that the ribs on the inside of the pocket don’t reach all the way to the bottom of the fire control well–and therefore, the mold (without the insert already there) couldn’t come off. Same reason you can’t just pull the insert out–there is a sort of “lip” created by the ribs that prevent it. it will be interesting seeing how the ATF gets around the basic architecture of the lower issue.

  10. I thought that you can file a restraining order against LE only in Breaking Bad, good to know it works in reality.

    Can’t they just destroy the list? Or have an anonymous list (without specific names or accounts) for their accounting?

  11. “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.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I read that as the ATF HAS their customer list and EP lowers???

      • While English/Literature class was never my strong suit, I still read that as a statement. Which would suck.

      • I was under the assumption that Ares agreed to their terms and then didn’t provide the list or the lowers. They agreed to provide themselves more time for legal protection. I could be wrong.

    • It says “agreed” rather than “provided”. They said “aight, i’ll get the information to you. I just need a few days….” then goes and gets a R/O to prevent it. At least that’s how I understand it.

    • After watching the video, looks like he DID give up the lowers, but did NOT give up the “5000” customer list.
      At the very least it’s a rather clunky paragraph/couple of paragraphs.

  12. Question, if it is not a firearm why is there ANY paperwork? In my eyes it is the same as buying a sling, box of ammo or a day back. There should be no record other than the big roll of sales receipt tape in the register.

  13. Reading the affidavit, it would seem that what ATF is arguing is that EP makes a stripped lower (a firearm) and then backfills the fire control pocket with a polymer that the buyer then mills out. [Ares says this isn’t true.] Thus, applying the rule that “once a firearm, always a firearm”, ATF contends that EP is selling “firearms” to retailers and direct purchasers without going through an FFL. If this were true, then both the seller and the purchaser could be guilty of an illegal firearms transaction, which is why the ATF wants the customer lists. If the ATF is successful in shutting down EP Armory, it will probably go after everyone who bought one of their lowers.

    Makes me wonder what happened at EP Armory. There is nothing on its site except a forum post by a member asking about it.

    • Wouldn’t that have to prove that a buyer was knowingly purchasing a “firearm” illegally? I mean, if it is represented as a 80% lower, isn’t the buyer buying in good faith?

      Dumb question, I know…but is this not a presumption of innocence issue…fishing expedition for the name list, make arrests, sort it out later?

      • I don’t know what the elements of the offense are. Perhaps someone who knows will chime in.

      • I suspect that even if you bought the 80% “in good faith” the most you could hope for is that you would not be prosecuted for the “illegal” firearm, if you passively turn it over to BATFE when they knock down your front door at zero dark thirty.

        • This would be my response:

          “I’m sorry officer… I ruined that piece when I tried to mill it. I cut it in half and it was thrown in the garbage. If you were to search the premise you would not find it – and by the way… I do not consent to any searches.”

  14. ATF… what a bunch of self-righteous assholes… I hope this is an acceptable comment, as truth is an absolute defense against libel. Or it used to be.

    We are going to realize at some point that the politicians are not the true enemies… it’s the bureaucracies and pubic-sector unions they funded and allowed to grow and function completely out of control.

    If I were Ares, I’d have the list stored way, way offsite and deleted from storage within their corporate systems and offices. The ATF just needs many more middle fingers raised in their faces.

    • If I were Ares, I’d have the list stored way, way offsite and deleted from storage within their corporate systems and offices. The ATF just needs many more middle fingers raised in their faces.

      Absolutely. Ares should file a police report indicating their servers were “stolen.” Ask the ATF to find them for Ares. Subpoena that you maggots.

  15. It would seem the ATF seized all of EP Armory’s lowers. I sent them an e-mail asking about the raid, and got this auto response:

    All EP80’s (polymer) are currently out of stock and not available for order until further notice.

    If your order included an EP80 and was placed between 3/6/2014 – 3/9/2014 your order will be cancelled and the money will be refunded to you.

  16. At least when you paid the Mafia their protection money, they left you alone. The federal government extorts our tax dollars and spends the money to harass and intimidate us. “It’s Not Robbery If You Have To Fill Out A Form!”

  17. I would support ARES if only they’d stop sending me ten or fifteen unsolicited emails a week after scraping my name from the Shot Show mailing list.

    Until then, I’m rooting for the ATF to put them out of business.

  18. When I was at Pendleton, I knew quite a few marines who went through Ares to build their ARs. Shame that the ATF is harassing them. Only heard good things about them.

  19. I wonder if these are the same ATF agents who claimed Airsoft toy guns can be converted to full auto M16’s?

    • Seems like a logical inference. I wonder what happened to that case–I suspect the business never got its goods back because they were immediately destroyed after seizure as “contraband.”

  20. Think this is a response from the National City City Council for their sign Debacle. Guess Ares armor changed their sign adding a ar15 to it and the city got pissed off and fined them, they are in court now over it. google it.

    • No apparent connection. The ATF has been “investigating” EP Armory for some long time prior to the sign. And they went after EP Armory too, which disestablishes your premise.

  21. As everyone knows, CA has some strict laws concerning AR style rifles and magazine capacity. Anytime somebody finds a way to circumvent those laws and then publicly “rubs their nose in it” (the legislators that is) they should not be surprised if there is a reaction on the part of the govt. So now they are cracking down on the 80% lowers and magazine kits are already a thing of the past. I can’t believe anybody is surprised by this.

    • Except that ATF is the federal government, not the state government. The ATF is trying to shut down the entire 80% lowers business by making it as difficult as possible to manufacture the lower. Previously, they warned owners of CNC machines (in California only , as far as I know) who were renting out their machines (which machines had been pre-programmed to mill out the fire control pocket, making it a push button process) that it considered the owners to be in the business of manufacturing firearms, shutting down that business over night. It is still legal to mill one for one’s self on one’s own machine, or to mill out the lower with a drill press. I note that EP Armory has pulled all of its polymers, but is still selling aluminum 80% lowers.

  22. Time for the “Civilian Firearms Legal Defense Fund” – a bank account, donation processing and index of lawyers. Industry types, retailers, individuals can call. If their situation passes muster, their defense is funded – harassment, malicious prosecution, over-broad interpretation of the laws and so on.

    Since the “legal” process has been weaponized, we ought to get our hands on that weapon, too. (Which will piss them off as much as citizens having firearms, and for the same reason.)

    • Weaponized Laws. Has a nice ring to it doesn’t it? As long as they don’t fall into the wrong hands!

      • Ehh, they’re laws. They were created by the wrong hands; enforce by the wrong hands; adjudicated by the wrong hands. Being in the wrongs hands is a permanent state of a law’s life-cycle.

  23. if you dont think they are coming after the guns then I gotta wonder how your brain keeps your lungs breathing. They are coming, they are coming very very soon.

  24. I am reasonably certain that the ATF has seized EP Armory’s customer list. So if you bought one from them, you may want to follow the advice posted on CalGuns–if you haven’t built it out, don’t; and if you have, strip it now so you can just turn it over when they knock on your door (or send you a nasty gram demanding its surrender on threat of a federal felony prosecution).

    I’ll bet that Senator De (Cowardly) Leon is just giggling gleefully. He is winning and his “ghost gun” bill hasn’t even been passed yet.

  25. People could always tell them they completely screwed up the lower during the drilling/milling process, so tossed it in the trash.

    What are they going to do – raid the garbage dumps and sort through mountains of trash and used baby diapers to prove you wrong?

    • Lying to a federal officer (even though they are authorized to lie to you) is, if I recall correctly, a felony. They won’t search the dump. If they suspect you are lying, they will search your house, your business, your vehicles, your computers, your phones, and the houses of anyone they think you may have given the lower to for safekeeping. How many potential felonies are you willing to rack up over a $50-$100 lower? The government is well aware of the fact that no one in their right mind will chose to fight them; the cost of defense, which you will never recover, far exceeds the value of multiple complete rifles. The only persons with enough skin in the game are the manufacturer and any major distributor like Ares.

      • Steve’s solution is better than yours. Last I checked… the feds weren’t psychic. Do you want “safety” or do you want “freedom?” Playing the safe route and cooperating with the feds is not the solution. Take the “paper weight” and hide it yourself and tell no one about it. Uncooperative… and strength in numbers. Standing by your principles often entails some “risk.”

        The government is well aware of the fact that no one in their right mind will chose to fight them

        You and the government are mistaken … Mark.

  26. Well this puts a crimp in my plans. I had been considering buying one of the EP Armory lowers, as a cheap way to start building my first AR. Figured it would be my best option since I don’t even have a drill press. Guess I’ll save up for a stripped lower instead

    • There are several issues with stripped lowers (which I’ve seen for as little as $80 and as much as $300): You have to buy it through an FFL, which means transfer fees (in California, it is $25 if buying from the dealer, a lot more if you are buying it elsewhere and having the dealer process it). Your transaction is then recorded in their book, which is available on demand to the ATF. And if you are in California, the sale is also registered with the Dept. of Justice. Some “other” states will have other equally egregious restrictions (e.g. NY, NJ, Ma…) If you have a friend with a drill press, you skip all of that. Be sure to buy a jig. The other route–buying your own drill press–is uneconomical if you are on a budget.

    • Sean… buy from an individual.

      A person may sell a firearm to an unlicensed resident of his State, if he does not know or have reasonable cause to believe the person is prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under Federal law.

      [18 U.S.C. 922(a)(3) and (5), 922(d), 27 CFR 478.29 and 478.30]

  27. Time for an executive decision re their records retention policies. From now on all records must be safely secured each night in a locked cabinet … in a canoe.

    • They should just burn the records. Why keep the records of customers buying… “paper weights.”

      • Sounds good, but would be really stupid. Destroying evidence of a “crime” (all purchasers of EP Lowers being criminals having engaged in a criminal transaction by not buying through an FFL) is a felony too.

        • Maybe I missed something… what crime? If the ATF came to me.. I would have said, “we don’t keep records like that for the paper weights that we sell.” Bottom line… they are not receivers… they are not gun parts at all. They are a chunk of metal or plastic. It either is a receiver… or it is not. By ATF’s own definition… these unfinished lowers are not receivers. If the ATF has a problem with the plastic paper weights “once” being a receiver and then made into “paper weights” they should take that up with the manufacturer – not the distributors. Alas no – it is an excuse (and a bad one at that) to criminally extort private information of which they are not entitled.

          Ares Armor has done their duty to be uncooperative in this matter and they have my utmost respect for it.

          The fact is… the ATF is trying to extort names from a list from the distributor rather than investigating the manufacturer’s fabrication process (from which the concern originates). The ATF should be held criminally liable, however, I’m guessing the most anyone will get is a paid vacation.

        • Once a firearm, always a firearm, as far as the ATF is concerned. So if the manufacturing process resulted in a stripped lower before the fire control pocket was filled, then it is a firearm, and the subsequent filling of the pocket changes nothing. Therefore, unsuspecting customers, who are indeed buying a paperweight that requires milling and drilling and fitting before becoming functional, are nonetheless buying a “disabled firearm” not an 80%lower. As far as the ATF is concerned, that transaction has to be processed through an FFL. Since it was not, it was an illegal transaction for which both the seller and the buyer are criminally liable. According to the ATF.

          Now I would think that there is no mens rea as to the buyer–as far as the buyer is concerned, he is buying a paperweight–but the thing I don’t know is if that is an element of the crime. If it is a strict liability crime, then the buyer’s state of mind is irrelevant. witness the prosecution of that cop who bought a gun for his uncle being prosecuted as a straw purchaser, notwithstanding the fact that the original purchase by the cop and the transfer to the uncle were processed through ffls. The ATF is more than happy to prosecute highly technical violations of the law.

  28. And just when my opinion of the ATF couldn’t go any lower.

    The ATF need to be reminded once in a while of their so called “authority” going unchecked. It went unchecked at Ruby Ridge, unchecked in Waco, etc. As a result a man named Timothy McVey sacrificed his life to put them in “check.” His actions were a direct response to Waco and Ruby Ridge, targeting the ATF, DEA, and FBI offices in the building that was bombed and demolished.

    So… fast forward a bit and now we have the ATF performing illegal raids on businesses that effectively manufacture and sell “paper weights.” The ATF themselves has classified them as such. So they are going to perform extortionist mafia tactics to illegally obtain private information of customers owning such “paper weights” because… they want it. Is there probable cause for criminal action? No. Is there any evidence of such? No. – “We are the ATF – we want the list – you will give the list – or we will illegally raid your offices and seize the list and get away with it anyways.”

  29. I didn’t see anywhere in there where they said ATF determined that the EP Armory 80% lowers are NOT firearms. If ATF never made that determination, then I fully expect criminal charges – warranted or not. It’ll get sorted out in the courts, with lots of money and time wasted. But if the EP Armory 80% lowers DID get a determination from ATF that they’re not firearms then yeah, big screwup on ATF’s part.

    Unless those lowers are EXACTLY the same as an approved design, they need their own determination. If there was no formal determination, then Ares Armor is screwed. IMHO.

    • The approved design is quite simple and exactness is easily achieved:

      From the ATF:

      Previously, FTB has determined that an AR-15 type receiver which has no machining of any kind performed in the area of the trigger/hammer recess might not be classified as a firearm. Such a receiver could have all other machining operations performed, including pivot-pin, takedown-pin hole(s), and clearance for the take down-pin lug, but must be completely solid and un-machined in the trigger/hammer recess area.


      In the matter of EP Armory making the receiver into an 80% lower (allegedly), the ATF is splitting hairs as the end result is the same. The manufacturer, by law, should not have a completed receiver or what is recognized as a “firearm” and should follow the rules as listed in the above source. Trying to chase down customers who bought “paperweight A” in lieu of “paperweight B” strictly due to the manufacturing/fabrication steps/differences without regard to acknowledgement of the physical aspects of the end product is…. ridiculous. Never-mind the fact that EP Armory has not been proven guilty of any crime. “But hey! we are the ATF, lets go after these ‘potential’ criminals by means of criminal behavior such as extortion, threats, and blatant disregard for rights to privacy.” It is evident to me the ATF are bored, don’t have much to do with their tax paid salaries and excellent benefits superior to any average citizen, and we should be labeling them #ATFBULLIES on social media platforms.

      • It would seem that the ATF is more interested in prosecuting technical violations of the law than in tracking down gunrunners. It would also seem that the ATF is intent on assuring that all receivers for whatever kind of weapon are registered in some fashion, either directly by them or in an FFL bound book, and is trying, first in California, to shut down the “80% receiver” business. Maybe it is just the California regional office–I haven’t heard of any similar attempts in other areas–who doesn’t care for EBRs.

      • So are you saying EP Armory didn’t get an ATF determination? If that’s the case, then yep they’re Ares is screwed – and EP brought this upon themselves. All the effort that went into developing the lower, and they couldn’t be bothered to ship one to ATF for a determination – to avoid exactly THIS scenario? Wow.

        • The EP Armory 80% lowers do not have any machining done to them – they’re molded.

          When thermal injected plastic comes into contact with other thermal injected plastic it effectively becomes one piece.

          Think of the EP lower as if it were metal – of being a solid aluminum plug, inserted into a mold and a colored aluminum receiver blank cast around the plug.

          To the morons at the ATF, it may appear that the plug was inserted into a completed receiver, but that
          assumption would be 100% incorrect.

          Should we now have to send the ATF samples of every single block of plastic that could possibly be machined into a firearm receiver – just to avoid ridiculous raids and charges like this?

          Perhaps that is the answer to stop this nonsense – to inundate them with non-guns for certification and overwhelm them with their own stupidness.

        • “Should we now have to send the ATF samples of every single block of plastic that could possibly be machined into a firearm receiver – just to avoid ridiculous raids and charges like this?”

          Stop being obtuse. It’s not just a piece of plastic that could be machined into a firearm receiver – it’s a piece of plastic specifically intended to be machined into a firearm receiver. ALL THEY HAD TO DO was submit a sample to ATF, just like everyone else does, and they’d avoid this mess.

          People can argue until they’re blue in the face, but the end result is that if you don’t want this to happen to you, spend $5 on postage and mail a sample to ATF. In the end, they may be vilified. Or they may not. They also may not have a business or life savings when it’s done either. Plus, they may have to hand over their customer list too. Because someone couldn’t be bothered to get a determination from ATF. Brilliant.

          It doesn’t matter whether you or I think they should have to get such a letter. The ATF thinks so, and it’s prudent and, frankly, criminally naive (literally, apparently) to not get one for such a product. What the hell were they thinking??? Is there an Entirely Avoidable Raid of the Day posting?

          So much fail.

        • NNJ, it is you who is being obtuse. The issue here is of manufacturing process, not the finished product. I have little doubt that the finished product, considered in isolation, fulfills all the requirements listed by the ATF, as I have seen them listed.

          But that is NOT what ATF is complaining about. Instead, they contend that the manner in which this lower is manufactured results in a stripped lower, with the FCP filled in afterwards with polymer. Under the rule that “once a firearm, always a firearm,” it doesn’t matter to the ATF that the final product is an 80% lower, because, if their theory as to how the product is produced is correct, it is still a firearm despite the need to mill out the pocket, drill various holes, etc.

          Ares and EPL dispute this, contending that the white colored plug is put into the mold and the receiver formed around it–which means it was never a stripped lower and therefore legal. I have no knowledge of EPL’s manufacturing process, but what I do know strongly supports the proposition that the white plug had to have been molded in at the time the lower was molded. The inside of the pocket has ribs that are a part of the receiver (not the plug) that do not go all the way to the bottom of the pocket. These ribs make it impossible to remove the plug without milling–and demonstrate that the plug had to be a part of the molding process; as the ribs would prevent the receiver from being removed from the mold if the plug was not present.

        • “The issue here is of manufacturing process, not the finished product.”

          You seem to think I disagree. But that would have been sorted out when EP sent one of their lowers to ATF for a determination that it wasn’t a firearm. It doesn’t look like they did that. And the results speak for themselves.

          Whether you believe getting a determination should be necessary or not doesn’t matter. It would have been the smart (and absofreakinglutely obvious) thing to do. But if they didn’t do it, then maybe everyone involved will be able to rebuild their lives and their businesses after ATF destroys them. Even if/when they show they are in the right, they’re still out all that time and money. I don’t know what the relationship is between Ares Armor and EP, but I would hope Ares has standing to sue EP after all this is sorted out.

          Oh, I just realized this was the same company that was in hot water with the sign about “No Background Checks” and all that. Yeah, well when you go begging for attention, don’t be surprised when you get some.

        • nnjj –
          What you fail to understand is that the ATF is deliberately trying to undermine the right to build a firearm for our own use.

          They do not like people doing that because it circumvents their illegal database of all firearms owners. Are you really naive enough to believe they destroy all data submitted on Form 4473’s?

          Why is it they have never detailed exactly how much time/tools/materials are required before a hunk of solid gun-shaped material becomes a firearm?

          They purposely don’t define it so that they are not restricted by it.

          Even if EP did submit a sample to the ATF they would not be bound by their own written statements … Their written approvals mean zilch!

          You live in a fantasy land that pretends the ATF “plays by the rules” and are bound by their previous approvals.

          The ATF regularly backtracks on prior approvals – declaring them unapproved at a later date. Wake up to reality.

        • “What you fail to understand is that the ATF is deliberately trying to undermine the right to build a firearm for our own use.”

          Stick to the issue. ATF charges that the 80% lower is in fact a firearm, because of how it’s manufactured. The manufacturer could have cleared that up at the time when they submitted a demo for evaluation/determination. Yes, ATF sometimes goes back on their determinations, but if you don’t send one in, they can’t go back on it, can you? Oh, and you also can’t point to said determination and say “But you said we were cool!”

          Don’t cloud the issue of them acting foolishly by not submitting it to ATF for evaluation (if that’s the case) – with ATF being very hostile to gun rights. BOTH of those can be very true. However, only one of them was within control of the manufacturer. And it looks like they acted either foolishly or recklessly. Hopefully others will learn from their mistake.

        • nnjj – So you are siding with the ATF – ie: If it looks like a gun then it is a gun unless we (they) say otherwise.

          According to that logic every single toy gun manufactured needs to have prior ATF approval. The same would go for novelty lighters or gun shaped solid ornaments (lamps, wall pieces etc).

          80% lowers are non-guns according to written ATF documents which state that 5 machining operations have to be performed, any one of which makes it a gun.

          ..All the above was listed by Ares Armory’s attorney on Page 1 of their request for a TRO to the court.

          As I said earlier – the ATF doesn’t care about the law, as they ignored the
          out order that was issued against them and broke in to Ares Armor early this morning … illegally seizing customer records, store stock, store computers and anything else they felt like.

          Whatever we believe is irrelevant, so there’s no point in continuing the argument. The King’s men ARE above the law and do whatever they wish.

        • “nnjj – So you are siding with the ATF – ie: If it looks like a gun then it is a gun unless we (they) say otherwise.”

          I thought I was very clear that I wasn’t siding with ATF. So I’ll be clearer. I’m not siding with ATF. Read my previous comments for more detail if needed.

          “According to that logic every single toy gun manufactured needs to have prior ATF approval. The same would go for novelty lighters or gun shaped solid ornaments (lamps, wall pieces etc).”

          Interesting. Please provide a link to one of these novelty lighters or gun shaped solid ornaments that is specifically designed to be made into a working firearm receiver by the end user. Thanks in advance!

  30. The atf is totally incorrect and i can say without issue the following:

    The lower has had specific features added to ENSURE they were within the letter of the law. (ie the nibs with counter sinks OUTSIDE the main wall of the fire control group pocket.

    The fire control pocket plastic is friggin secure in there and you cant just pop it out.

    These things arent worth your money, buy an aluminum UNLESS you want a cobbled together dremel version.

    The plastic deforms too much when clamped, and the composition is pretty tough so the cutting can be a pain. The atf is just pissed that the color difference on the initial slug, and the chamfered nibs for each fire control pin helps you center each hole with no real machining skill or math skills needed.

    The real thing the ATF is after is cheap, easily completed lowers…… SUCK IT BATFE.

    I truly hope that ARES doesnt give up the customer base, nobody will do business with them again.

  31. “It’s only 80% lower. It’s not a fire arm. It’s legal.”
    “It’s only 80% nuke. It’s not a full nuke. It’s legal.”

    This fear mongering, this pushing the line and saying “i didnt do anything” is silly and detrimental 2nd Amendment defenders. The law is outdated and companies like ARES are taking advantage of that fact. The law didnt anticipate this kind of coming up as close as possible to the line and saying “nananananana”. This is stupid. The law needs updated to be sure. But most importantly, the people commenting here need to grow the fuck up; they are their own and the 2nd amendments well meaning yet worst enemies.

  32. Hey don’t worry….we are in the same good hands that the people of WACO were in! Well I guess I will be melting down my EP Lowers……

  33. Let’s be frank….we bought them because they were cheap to produce and with a certain amount of skills able to be converted into a working lower.. I screwed up three of them before I got one right. I got mine because I had several strokes and my hands and fingers no longer work right (look up brainstem/cerebellum stroke) and I use this as a sort of therapy because I like tinkering, guns are fun to fool with being as I am not able to build engines anymore and the Home Owners Association made me remove my planetary observatory from my back yard because they “don’t allow buildings on your own property”….I decided to work on guns after my police friend brought me over a few to fix for him…So it is guns as a hobby…until the BATF decides to remove me from my second amendment….so no gun hobby soon?…just the way of my Skyshed Pod observatory taken away…..

    • “Court Issued Restraining Order … We don’t care about such things. We’re ABOVE the law.”

      Bunch of criminal scum!

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