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NY Man Gets 10 Year Prison Sentence For Homemade Firearms Collection

New York City has seen more than 16,000 residents apply for a license to carry guns, according to police and budget data reviewed by the Daily News. (Dreamstime/TNS)
May 16, 2024

A New York judge has sentenced a Brooklyn man to 10 years in prison on charges stemming from his possession of unserialized homemade firearms.

Last month, a New York jury voted to convict Dexter Taylor on 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 violating a prohibition on unfinished firearms frames or receivers.

The charges came after a police search of Taylor’s home in April 2022. The office of Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, prosecuting the case, said Taylor purchased firearms parts and tools and assembled them, but did not have a license to possess the firearms, as required in New York City. The Democrat legislative supermajority in New York State also passed legislation in 2021, making it illegal to make, assemble, possess or sell unserialized firearms or firearm frames or receivers, which gun control proponents have termed “ghost guns.”

On Monday, New York City Judge Abena Darkeh sentenced Taylor to a 10-year prison term for the charges stemming from his collection of unserialized firearms.

“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,” Gonzalez’s office said after Taylor was sentenced. “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.”

While the district attorney presented Taylor’s conviction and sentence as a measure to protect public safety and remove a threat to New Yorkers, Taylor was not charged, let alone convicted of using his homemade firearms to commit any specific violent offenses. Prior to Taylor’s jury conviction, defense attorney Vinoo Varghese attempted to argue that Taylor was well within his rights under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Federal law doesn’t prohibit private individuals from manufacturing firearms for personal use or require additional licensing for such activities.

Varghese told RedState he had sought a chance to argue a case for jury nullification, in which a jury may believe a defendant committed a certain offense but find the defendant not guilty on grounds that the law they violated is itself unjust. Varghese said there is precedent in New York law for making a jury nullification argument, but that the judge shut down such efforts.

Varghese described Judge Darkeh as “the most aggressive prosecutor in the room.”

New York isn’t the only state to take steps to stop firearms enthusiasts from making their own firearms.

California’s Democrat-controlled legislature passed a law in 2016 requiring those with homemade firearms to apply with the Department of Justice for a serial number and undergo a background check.

In 2022, the California legislature passed a law attempting to prohibit sales of specific computer numerical control (CNC) milling machines they believe are specifically designed or marketed as a way to fabricate homemade firearms parts. The San Diego County government filed a lawsuit earlier this month accusing a trio of business entities of trying to flout this law by rebranding a CNC machine originally called the “Ghost Gunner” as a new machine that can be used for non-firearm-related CNC projects.

This article was originally published by FreeBase News and is reprinted with permission.