Semiautomatic assault weapons no longer among firearms to which the ten-year minimum sentence applies

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on February 28, 2010

Opinions of the Office of Legal Counsel, Department of Justice, November 24, 2009: “You have asked whether possession of a semiautomatic assault weapon in furtherance of a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime is conduct that remains subject to a mandatory ten-year minimum sentence. Having carefully considered the views of the Criminal Division and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), we conclude that semiautomatic assault weapons are no longer among the firearms to which the ten-year minimum sentence in section 924(c)(1)(B)(i) of title 18 applies. The 1994 amendment that increased the penalties for use of such firearms in section 924(c)(1) is subject to a sunset provision, and thus was repealed as of 2004. Accordingly, the possession of a semiautomatic assault weapon in furtherance of, or the use during and in relation to, a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime is subject to the general five-year mandatory minimum sentence provided for in section 924(c)(1)(A), with increased penalties for the brandishment or discharge of such weapon.”

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