It appears that Congress has stepped into a time machine and traveled back to the 1980s. Several members of Congress have recently introduced bills that would broaden the scope of federal mandatory minimum sentences.
Last Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 6691 — only a week after the bill was introduced, and with zero committee hearings. If passed into law, the bill would rewrite the definition of a "crime of violence." FAMM opposes this bill because it classifies certain nonviolent offenses, such as burglary of an unoccupied dwelling, as a violent crime. Overbroad crime bills were often passed in a hurry in the 1980s, and we are still cleaning up those messes today. We need to stop this bill from passing the Senate.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep. David Kustoff (R-Tenn.) introduced S. 3335/H.R. 6697, which would greatly expand the scope of the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), a federal law that requires a 15-year mandatory minimum for those who possess guns and have three prior convictions for either "serious drug felonies" or "violent felonies." These bills would expand ACCA to apply to people with any three "serious felonies" — defined as any state or federal crime punishable by a maximum sentence of 10 years. If this bill becomes law, countless state and federal nonviolent crimes could trigger the ACCA's 15-year mandatory minimum sentence.
These bills represent a significant threat to the reform movement that has been building at the federal and state level. With criminal justice reform negotiations ongoing in the Senate, we cannot allow Congress to set the clock back on sentencing.
FAMM is always watching out for these kinds of steps backwards. If these bills do begin to move forward in the future, we'll let you know how and when to help us push back.
Vice President of Policy, FAMM