Dimitrios Karras is the in-your-face owner of San Diego’s Ares Armor gun dealerships. The gun dealer started with the towering sign on the roof of his National City store adorned with a silhouette of an AR 15 and continued to tweak local officials with his radio commercials which argue the sign is being targeted by city officials. Karras relentlessly challenges anyone he perceives as infringing on his and others’ Second Amendment rights.
On Saturday, officers from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) raided his National City store and confiscated the names of all his customers.Karras and his attorneys had won an injunction against such a raid but it was apparently lifted. See video from the raid below. Karras captured screen shots from his security cameras and mocked them on his Facebook page (see nearby).
At issue is what else is on Karras’ large sign. The words “Unserialized. No Registration. Legal.” As he explained to me on KOGO Radio February 17th (Hear the interview here), his National City store sells only the seat for a gun–the plastic lower base–which can be taken to a machine shop and, along with other components, turned into a weapon. He says guns manufactured by individuals for their own use are perfectly legal and within the scope of the 1968 gun law.
Karras is fighting battles on two fronts. He believes he was unconstitutionally targeted by National City officials for the content of his sign.The Mayor denies it, telling me the city is phasing out all roof top signs and that Karras should have known about the ordinance before he leased the spot.
But somebody else was interested in the content of that sign, too: The Feds. And now Karras is in their crosshairs. The BATFE considered the lower piece of the gun a weapon and demanded Karras turn over the names of all his customers. In a declaration seeking to halt the raid, Karras explained the Feds were wrong about their legal interpretation and vowed not to turn over the names of his customers. He refused until forced to at the point of a gun by the Feds on Saturday. Every person who purchased that equipment can expect a Federal agent to come knocking.
Karras is being represented by the same legal team who just won a big victory in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals regarding conceal carry permits.