Repeat offender repeatedly possessed firearms

Repeat offender repeatedly possessed firearms
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

The possession of firearms is a Constitutional right. Only half of the country actually respects that right by not requiring some sort of a permission slip for people to carry firearms. Whether or not Second Amendment supporters agree with permitting processes or not, is not up for debate, we do have to accept the reality that there are permitting processes if we want to stay out of jail. What does that mean for people that become criminals for possession of a firearm? Given the NYSRPA v. Bruen decision, what does that mean for minimum mandatory sentences and or what types of crimes make a person a disqualified individual? Take for example a repeat offender being sentenced 45 months in federal prison for firearm possession.

WILMINGTON, Del. – David C. Weiss, U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced that Jaquez Williams, age 28, from Wilmington was sentenced today to 45 months in prison for two counts of felon in possession of a firearm. U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika pronounced the sentence.

According to court documents, on September 23, 2020, Mr. Williams, a convicted felon, possessed a loaded semiautomatic pistol when the car he was driving was stopped for a traffic violation.  While on bail for the September 23 offense, the defendant was found in possession of another loaded semiautomatic pistol during another traffic stop. The defendant clearly has a penchant for illegal use and possession of firearms, as he had two prior convictions relating to his illegal possession of a firearm.

Trying to navigate through the narrative of what Williams was up to back in 2020 is a little difficult. There was a traffic stop for a traffic violation. A handgun was found in Williams’s possession during that stop and he was a felon at the time. It was not noted in the report how the stop resulted in a search, but none-the-less Williams was found to have the gun. Then a subsequent traffic stop while on bail, another gun was found on Williams. Why that stop resulted in a search was also not stated.

U.S. Attorney Weiss stated, “Mr. Williams’ current offense and his history of illegally possessing firearms represent a clear and present danger to our community. My office and our law enforcement partners will continue to devote unlimited resources to help stem the tide of gun violence. This sentence should serve as a warning to other repeat offenders who unlawfully possess firearms.”

“This sentencing is yet another example of the stiff consequences faced by those who carry firearms illegally in Wilmington,” said Wilmington Police Chief Robert J. Tracy. “We appreciate the continued partnership of the United States Attorney’s Office, working with our police officers and investigators to ensure strong prosecution of gun charges.”

My question is why was Williams a felon or disqualified person in the first place? I did some digging and found nothing. Aside from the incident described, very little could be found about an arrest of a Mr. Williams in a case called United States v. Williams. At least not the Mr. Williams we were looking for.

Delaware, Joe Biden’s home state, has a permitting process in place for firearm possession. What if all of Williams’s crimes were simply the possession that the release so glibly notes he had a penchant for? If Williams was a violent felon or something to that effect, I’m sure the release would have boasted about having taken down a monster off the streets. But the release does no such thing. The release talks about Williams’s inability to drive without a traffic violation and his penchant for carrying guns.

We don’t know the details behind Mr. Williams’s alleged criminal history, so we can’t say for sure. What we can do though is have a dialogue about how the Supreme Court of the United States did recently find that the carry of firearms on one’s person for self-defense is a Constitutional right. Since this is a right, shouldn’t any law regulating it not have any draconian penalties? 

The High Court did not rule against the existence of permitting, which given how states like New York and New Jersey have responded to the groundbreaking June opinion they should have, but they did opine that carry is a right. Any infraction of silly carry permitting laws should amount to a ticketed offense, not a felony requiring minimum mandatory sentences and the loss of rights.

While we are battling on the front lines laws like those passed in New York and New Jersey (with similar ones probably on the way in California), the other battle we should be having in the courts is challenging these draconian penalties. During the time we are restricted, if we’re able to take the teeth out of the laws, there’s plenty of people that would be happy to just pay a fine and be on their way if they’re caught not in compliance. The equivalent of: I’ll have him whipped and set him free, rather than the current crucifixion that many see in states that don’t respect civil liberties.

The case was investigated by the Wilmington Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Edmond Falgowski.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the District of Delaware or on PACER by searching for Case No. 21-cr-67.

As for Mr. Williams and his alleged criminal history, who knows. I refuse to pay for the PACER files, and the list of opinions with the District Court for the District of Delaware has none past November of 2022 for Judge Maryellen Noreika, so there’s nothing to see there just now. My suspicion is that since no one was high fiving anyone about how awful of a person Williams may or may not have been, I’d bet his “crimes” may have originated in the form of firearm possession, and conceivably nothing much more. If I learn more, I’ll certainly share it. 

Regardless of the position Mr. Williams finds himself in, we do need to visit the matter of what happens when one carries without a permit and how any punishment for simple possession should be at most a ticket (I would like to go on the record to state that I support permitless carry and or Constitutional carry, before ya’ll think I’m some sort of a 2A softie). If we remove the teeth from the barking dog, the bark loses the power. And I’m tired of Hochul and Murphy’s barking.