Amendment: The Commentary to §2K2.4 captioned "Application Notes" is amended in Note 2 in the second paragraph by striking "paragraph" after "preceding" and inserting "paragraphs"; and by striking the first paragraph in its entirety and inserting the following:
"If a sentence under this guideline is imposed in conjunction with a sentence for an underlying offense, do not apply any specific offense characteristic for possession, brandishing, use, or discharge of an explosive or firearm when determining the sentence for the underlying offense. A sentence under this guideline accounts for any explosive or weapon enhancement for the underlying offense of conviction, including any such enhancement that would apply based on conduct for which the defendant is accountable under §1B1.3 (Relevant Conduct). Do not apply any weapon enhancement in the guideline for the underlying offense, for example, if (A) a co-defendant, as part of the jointly undertaken criminal activity, possessed a firearm different from the one for which the defendant was convicted under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c); or (B) in an ongoing drug trafficking offense, the defendant possessed a firearm other than the one for which the defendant was convicted under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). However, if a defendant is convicted of two armed bank robberies, but is convicted under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) in connection with only one of the robberies, a weapon enhancement would apply to the bank robbery which was not the basis for the 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) conviction.
If the explosive or weapon that was possessed, brandished, used, or discharged in the course of the underlying offense also results in a conviction that would subject the defendant to an enhancement under §2K1.3(b)(3) (pertaining to possession of explosive material in connection with another felony offense) or §2K2.1(b)(5) (pertaining to possession of any firearm or ammunition in connection with another felony offense), do not apply that enhancement. A sentence under this guideline accounts for the conduct covered by these enhancements because of the relatedness of that conduct to the conduct that forms the basis for the conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 844(h), § 924(c) or § 929(a). For example, if in addition to a conviction for an underlying offense of armed bank robbery, the defendant was convicted of being a felon in possession under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), the enhancement under §2K2.1(b)(5) would not apply.".
The Commentary to §2K2.4 captioned "Application Notes", as amended by Amendment 600 (see supra), is further amended in Note 5 (formerly Note 4) in the third sentence by inserting "brandishing," after "possession,".
The Commentary to §2K2.4 captioned "Background" is amended in the second sentence by inserting "brandishing," after "use,".
Reason for Amendment: This amendment expands the commentary in Application Note 2 of §2K2.4 (Use of Firearm, Armor-Piercing Ammunition, or Explosive During or in Relation to Certain Crimes) to clarify under what circumstances defendants sentenced for violations of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) in conjunction with convictions for other offenses may receive weapon enhancements contained in the guidelines for those other offenses. The amendment directs that no guideline weapon enhancement should be applied when determining the sentence for the crime of violence or drug trafficking offense underlying the 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) conviction, nor for any conduct with respect to that offense for which the defendant is accountable under §1B1.3 (Relevant Conduct). Guideline weapon enhancements may be applied, however, when determining the sentence for counts of conviction outside the scope of relevant conduct for the underlying offense (e.g., a conviction for a second armed bank robbery for which no 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) conviction was obtained).
For similar reasons, this amendment also expands the application note to clarify that offenders who receive a sentence under §2K2.4 should not receive enhancements under §2K1.3(b)(3) (pertaining to explosive material connected with another offense), or §2K2.1(b)(5) (pertaining to firearms or ammunition possessed, used, or transferred in connection with another offense) with respect to any weapon, ammunition, or explosive connected to the offense underlying the count of conviction sentenced under §2K2.4.
The purposes of this amendment are to (1) avoid unwarranted disparity and duplicative punishment; and (2) conform application of guideline weapon enhancements with general guideline principles. The relevant application note to §2K2.4 previously stated that if a sentence was imposed under §2K2.4 in conjunction with a sentence for "an underlying offense," no weapon enhancement should be applied with respect to the guideline for the underlying offense. Some courts interpreted "underlying offense" narrowly to mean only the "crime of violence" or "drug trafficking offense" that forms the basis for the 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) conviction. See, e.g., United States v. Flennory,145 F.3d 1264, 1268-69 (11th Cir. 1998), cert. denied, 119 S.Ct. 1130 (1999). But see United States v. Smith, 196 F.3d 676, 679-82 (6th Cir. 1999) (a conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) qualifies as an "underlying offense," and thus, application of the enhancement in §2K2.1(b)(5) was impermissible double-counting). In other cases, offenders have received both the mandated statutory penalty and a guideline weapon enhancement in circumstances in which the guidelines generally would require a single weapon enhancement. See United States v. Gonzalez, 183 F.3d 1315, 1325-26 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, 120 S.Ct. 996 (2000) (both statutory and guideline increases may be imposed if defendant and accomplice used different weapons as part of a joint undertaking); United States v. Willett, 90 F.3d 404, 407-08 (9th Cir. 1996) (not double counting to apply both increases for separate weapons possessed by defendant). But see United States v. Knobloch, 131 F.3d 366, 372 (3d Cir. 1996) (error to apply guideline enhancement in addition to statutory penalty "even if the section 924(c)(1) sentence is for a different weapon than the weapon upon which the enhancement is predicated.").
The amendment clarifies application of the commentary, consistent with the definition of "offense" found in §1B1.1 (Application Note 1(l)) and with general guideline principles. It addresses disparate application arising from conflicting interpretations of the current guideline in different courts, and is intended to avoid the duplicative punishment that results when sentences are increased under both the statutes and the guidelines for substantially the same harm.
Finally, Application Notes 2 and 4 and the Background Commentary of §2K2.4 are revised to reflect changes to 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), made by the Act to Throttle the Criminal Use of Guns, Pub. L. 105–386, with respect to "brandishing" a firearm.
Effective Date: The effective date of this amendment is November 1, 2000.