I am one of many who is deeply affected by a criminal justice system policy called 924(c). This firearm enhancement has a sentencing scheme (924(c)(1)(c), that permits “stacking” 25 yr prison terms upon individuals who have committed multiple offenses that were charged in the same indictment and prosecuted together in one proceeding. This policy has led to several of my family members and loved one’s receiving prison sentences that DO NOT fit the crimes they committed. In researching the legislative history of 924(c) it’s very clear that it was created to impose a harsher penalty upon those who are REPEAT OFFENDERS of this policy; not FIRST TIME OFFENDERS.924(c)’s “stacking” provision has been scrutinized and criticized by the vast majority of individuals who are aware of it’s heinous nature. This includes several U.S. Supreme Court Justices, multitudes of federal judges, prosecutors, advocacy groups, and attorneys, namely former and current U.S, Attorney General’s (John Ashcroft and Eric Holder Jr., respectively).
On numerous occasions the Judicial Conference has urged You (Congress) to amend the, “draconian penalties established by section 924(c) by making it a TRUE RECIDIVIST statute, if not rescinding it altogether.”
Two of Your congressional colleagues, Representatives Robert “Bobby” Scott (VA-3rd) and John Conyers (MI-14th), have, in two separate congressional terms, submitted legislation seeking to amend this policy’s severe sentencing structure. Bill’s H.R. 2933 and H.R. 2398 (The Firearm Recidivist Sentencing Act of 2009 and 2011, respectively) were drafted to ensure that, “The 25yr mandatory minimum for REPEAT OFFENSES apply only to individuals if they have been PREVIOUSLY CONVICTED of and SERVED a PRISON SENTENCE for a 924(c) offense.”
Even Your own expert advisors-The United States Sentencing Commission- has urged you to, “eliminate the mandatory “stacking” of penalties under 924(c).” The Commission has repeatedly recommended that, “these extra 25yr mandatory minimum sentences for RECIDIVISM apply only to defendants with a PRIOR 924(c) violation.”
924(c) was created in 1968, making its life span 46yrs and counting. This policy was proposed, voted on, and passed in one day. One day! It has taken 46yrs to correct a one day problem. The time is now to correct the inhumane and grossly disproportionate penalties resulting from 924(c)’s “stacking” provision.
I strongly favor and support the amending of 924(c) and retroactive application of this amendment so that the 25yr penalty for “second or subsequent convictions” apply only to those who are TRUE RECIDIVISTS of this policy. I am relying on you to represent our position on this very important and urgent matter. I promise to remain in contact.