What does it take to "use" a firearm when committing a crime?

Not as much as you might think.  In this case, pointed out by Patterico, the 9th Circuit upholds a 5 year sentence for using a gun while possessing marijuana for distribution.  The catch?  The person involved was a border patrol officer who tried to steal a portion of drugs seized while on duty.  They happened to be caught on videotape.  The only reason there was a gun involved is because the guy had to carry one as part of his uniform and law enforcement duties. 

Now, nevermind that the drug war is wrong; never mind that this law enforcement officer is clearly corrupt; is wearing a gun on your belt as part of your normal clothing, without ever drawing the gun from its holster and without any attempt at force or intimidation, really "using" the gun in commission of a crime and worth 5 extra years in jail?  Bear in mind the sentence for using a gun (60 months), was twice the sentence for the theft of the drug (30 months).

That's a lot of potential bad for a concealed-carry licensee who makes an otherwise small mistake.  And I'm a lot more concerned about the fact that a law enforcement officer would steal something he's supposed to be confiscating than that he did so while wearing his duty weapon.

This entry was published Fri Jun 27 10:10:27 CDT 2008 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2008-06-27 10:10:27.0. [Tweet]

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