Your civil rights shouldn’t depend on your address or your judge

by Lee Williams

The American tradition of home gunsmithing was not specifically codified in the Constitution. Perhaps it should have been.

I understand why the Founders left it out. They were practical men, of course, chock-full of common sense. They knew Americans couldn’t fully enjoy their newfound right to keep and bear arms without the ability to build and maintain firearms in their homes, so why add unnecessary verbiage to a document that was already running a bit long.

Unfortunately, the Founders had no idea how their brilliant composition would be misused, misquoted and misinterpreted a couple centuries later, by prosecutors, judges and politicians whom they would have tarred, feathered and run out of town on a rail.

I had never built a firearm in my home or anywhere else until last year, when 80% Arms offered to send me two GST-9 pistol kits. They were looking for someone with zero gunsmithing experience – I certainly qualified – to build the pistols and chronicle the experience.

From start to finish the entire build process was incredible, but truth be told, I was a bit nervous during the first one. However, both pistols turned out perfectly, function flawlessly and look great.

I walked away from the experience with more than a couple reliable shooters. Building a firearm in your home is a uniquely American experience, one which we all should be able to enjoy. For a brief period, I something in common with gunsmiths of old – something more than a shared passion for liberty and good whiskey.

Dexter Taylor, a law-abiding 53-year-old data engineer and father from Brooklyn, will spend the next 10 years in a New York state prison for his home gunsmithing experience. His only crimes were living in a state that does not recognize his Second Amendment rights, and appearing before a fruitcake of a judge who feels the same way.

Taylor’s home gunsmithing hobby somehow came to the attention of both the New York City Police Department and the ATF. On April 6, 2022, these Redcoat-wannabes executed a search warrant of Taylor’s home in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

According to a press release from Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, officers recovered “four AR-15 style assault weapons, five handguns, four rifles and over 50 rounds of ammunition in addition to gun powder, shell casings, triggers, a 3D printer, and various upper and lower receivers used to build firearms.”

Fifty rounds? What an archcriminal.

Things went from bad to worse when Taylor went to court. Judge Abena Darkeh famously told Taylor’s defense attorney: “Do not bring the Second Amendment into this courtroom. It doesn’t exist here. So, you can’t argue Second Amendment. This is New York.”

Truer words have never been spoken. The Second Amendment does not exist in New York.

Last month, a New York City jury convicted Taylor of “two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon; three counts of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon; five counts of criminal possession of a firearm; unlawful possession of pistol ammunition; and prohibition on unfinished frames or receivers.”

On Monday, Taylor was sentenced to 10 years in a state prison.

After the sentencing, District Attorney Gonzalez said in a statement, “Ghost guns are a threat to New Yorkers everywhere, and my Office is working tirelessly with our partners in law enforcement to stop their proliferation. Today’s sentence should send a message to anyone who, like this defendant, would try to evade critically important background checks and registration requirements to manufacture and stockpile these dangerous weapons. Every ghost gun we take off the street is a win for public safety.”

Taylor never tried to evade anything. Gunsmithing was his hobby. He was never accused of misusing his homemade firearms. Mere possession was enough to revoke his liberty for the next decade.

Taylor’s case highlights the incredible dichotomy between free states like Florida, where I can build as many homemade firearms as my budget will allow, and tyrannical blue states like New York, where a single “ghost gun” coupled with a lunatic of a judge ends in imprisonment. Taylor got caught behind enemy lines trying to exercise a tiny bit of freedom, and the Statists stomped on his head as a result.

To be clear, Dexter Taylor is a prisoner of war – a prisoner of Joe Biden’s war on our guns.

A GiveSendGo account was created to help Taylor’s legal defense. So far, it has raised more than $200,000.

A petition was created to remove Judge Darkeh from the bench. So far, it has more than 2,600 signatures.