Amendment: Chapter Two, Part K, Subpart 1 is amended by deleting §2K1.4 in its entirety as follows:

"§2K1.4. Arson; Property Damage By Use of Explosives

(a) Base Offense Level: 6

(b) Specific Offense Characteristics

If more than one applies, use the greatest:

(1) If the defendant knowingly created a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury, increase by 18 levels.

(2) If the defendant recklessly endangered the safety of another, increase by 14 levels.

(3) If the offense involved destruction or attempted destruction of a residence, increase by 12 levels.

(4) If the defendant used fire or an explosive to commit another offense that is a felony under federal law, or carried explosives during the commission of any offense that is a felony under federal law (i.e., the defendant is convicted under 18 U.S.C. § 844(h)), increase by 7 levels.

(5) If the defendant endangered the safety of another person, increase by 4 levels.

(6) If a destructive device was used, increase by 2 levels.

(c) Cross References

(1) If the defendant caused death, or intended to cause bodily injury, apply the most analogous guideline from Chapter Two, Part A (Offenses Against the Person) if the resulting offense level is greater than that determined above.

(2) Apply §2B1.3 (Property Damage or Destruction) if the resulting offense level is greater than that determined above.

(d) Note

(1) The specific offense characteristic in subsection (b)(4) applies only in the case of an offense committed prior to November 18, 1988.


Statutory Provisions: 18 U.S.C. §§ 32, 33, 81, 844(f), (h) (only in the case of an offense committed prior to November 18, 1988), (i), 1153, 1855, 2275.

Application Notes:

1. ‘Destructive device’ means any article described in 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(4) (for example, explosive, incendiary, or poison gas bombs, grenades, mines, and similar devices and certain rockets, missiles, and large bore weapons).

2. If bodily injury resulted, an upward departure may be warranted. See Chapter Five, Part K (Departures).

Background: Review of presentence reports indicates that many arson cases involve ‘malicious mischief,’ i.e., minor property damage under circumstances that do not present an appreciable danger. A low base offense level is provided for these cases. However, aggravating factors are provided for instances where a defendant knowingly or recklessly endangered others, destroyed or attempted to destroy a residence, used a destructive device, or otherwise endangered others. As amended by Section 6474(b) of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 (effective November 18, 1988), 18 U.S.C. § 844(h) sets forth a mandatory sentencing enhancement of five years for the first offense and ten years for subsequent offenses if the defendant was convicted of using fire or an explosive to commit a felony or of carrying an explosive during the commission of a felony. See §2K1.7.".

A replacement guideline with accompanying commentary is inserted as §2K1.4 (Arson; Property Damage by Use of Explosives).

Reason for Amendment: This amendment restructures this guideline to provide more appropriate offense levels for the conduct covered. The Commission has determined that the offense levels provided in the current guideline do not adequately reflect the seriousness of the offenses that are covered under this section.

Effective Date: The effective date of this amendment is November 1, 1990.