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Monday, November 4, 2013

Armed Career Criminal Act (18 U.S.C. 924(e)): An Overview

Charles Doyle
Senior Specialist in American Public Law

The Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. 924(e), requires imposition of a minimum 15-year term of imprisonment for recidivists convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm under 18 U.S.C. 922(g), who have three prior state or federal convictions for violent felonies or serious drug offenses.

Serious drug offenses are those punishable by imprisonment for 10 years or more. Violent felonies for purposes of Section 924(e) are those that either (1) have an element of threat, attempt, or use of physical force against another or (2) that involve burglary, arson, or extortion, or some similar offense. The Sentencing Commission recommended that Congress consider clarifying the statutory definitions of the violent felony categories.

Constitutional challenges to the application of Section 924(e) have been generally unsuccessful, regardless of whether they were based on arguments of cruel and unusual punishment, double jeopardy, due process, grand jury indictment or jury trial rights, the right to bear arms, or limits on Congress’s legislative authority.

Date of Report: October 23, 2013
Number of Pages: 11
Order Number: R41449
Price: $29.95

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