By David Codrea
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- The United States District Court for the Southern District of California ruled against Ares Armor in its lawsuit against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in a decision filed Thursday. United States District Judge Janis L. Sammartino, a George W. Bush appointee, ordered dismissal of plaintiff claims.
The lawsuit, naming former ATF Director B. Todd Jones “in his official capacity,” was filed after a series of actions that began when Special Agent Gordon Geerdes pressured Ares owner, former Marine Sergeant Dimitri Karras, to turn over a list of customers who bought unfinished receivers with contrast color core “biscuits.” These parts had “pre-cast indices to guide purchasers in drilling certain holes required to build a functioning firearm receiver.”
Karras refused, at which point ATF set in motion a series of actions resulting in a warrant and a seizure of lower receivers and Ares’ customer list.
Ares claimed First, Second and Fifth Amendment violations by ATF, as well as a violation of the Firearm Owners Protection Act. ATF argued for dismissal, citing “lack of subject matter jurisdiction … [and] failure to state a claim,” as well as for summary judgment on the claim by Ares that classifying the part as a firearm was “arbitrary.”
In siding with ATF, Judge Sammartino cited matters of jurisdiction, including sovereign immunity [you can’t sue the government unless it agrees] and ripeness [readiness of a case for adjudication]. As for First Amendment claims, the judge dismissed the argument that “different colored material is non-functional and informational, providing information or instruction through the use of different colors.”
She also sided with ATF in ruling “the Second Amendment does not extend to the unrestricted manufacture, distribution, sale, or purchase of firearms or their parts,” that regulation of the parts is “presumptively lawful … ‘fall[ing] outside the historical scope’ of the Second Amendment,” and that ATF’s action “places only a marginal burden on the right to bear arms in self-defense of one’s home.”
[Note this disregards a primary founding intent behind the Second Amendment, that it is meant to protect the right of the people to keep and bear arms outside the home.]
As for Fifth Amendment claims, Sammartino stated “Plaintiff has failed to establish a deprivation of a constitutionally protected liberty or property interest or a denial of adequate procedural protections.” And in dismissing the claim of a Firearm Owners Protection Act violation, the judge rejected registration list concerns over ATF seizing Ares’ customer list.
Because Judge Sammartino dismissed four of the claims without prejudice (meaning Ares can appeal), AmmoLand asked lead counsel Alan Beck what was next for the case.
“Ares will be appealing the decision,” Beck replied. “Ultimately, the ATF needs to be held accountable for its actions in the Courts or else their encroachment on our civil liberties will not end. I am proud to have represented Ares Armor and I will be happy to appeal it.”
Also see earlier stories about the Ares Armor case posted by this author, which includes a suggested reading list of prior developments.
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.