There are federal mandatory minimum sentences for gun offenses — even when there was no violence and no one was hurt. The federal gun statute, 18 U.S.C. sec. 924(c), tells judges they must sentence people convicted of drug crimes or crimes of violence who possessed or used a gun to an extra mandatory minimum sentence of at least five years for the gun, on top of the sentence for the drug or violent crime. Sentences can get very long under the gun statute as mandatory minimums of five, 10 or more years for underlying offenses are increased by five, seven, 10 or even 25 or more consecutive years for the gun offense.
The Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. sec. 924(e), requires judges to automatically sentence individuals who are in possession of a firearm or ammunition to a 15-year mandatory minimum if he or she has three prior convictions (committed on separate occasions) for either serious drug offenses or a violent felonies.
Read about our state reform efforts in Florida.