WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) today introduced the Stop Gun Criminals Act to reduce gun violence by establishing a mandatory minimum sentence of five years for felons who possess a firearm illegally.
“Repeat criminals commit a large amount of the shootings that afflict American communities. They think gun laws are meant to be broken. Compassion and common sense tell us that getting those proven offenders off the streets will save lives and reduce gun violence. The Stop Gun Criminals Act would ensure that violent criminals who break our gun laws can’t continue threatening innocent communities,” said Kennedy.
“Violent felons commit the vast majority of gun crimes and should be held accountable for their actions. Instead of releasing criminals onto the streets to commit more crime, our bill will establish mandatory minimum sentences for repeat offenders,” said Cotton.
A small number of criminals carry out a disproportionate number of shootings, making communities across the country less safe. Despite this, the current average federal sentence for all firearm crimes, including for repeat offenders who fire a gun in the commission of a crime, is only 4.25 years.
The bill would also increase penalties for the most serious criminals who use guns to commit additional crimes. The Stop Gun Criminals Act would increase the mandatory minimum sentence for serious repeat felons—those with at least three prior convictions for crimes that are punishable by at least 10 years—who use a gun in the commission of additional crimes. It would increase the minimum sentence in those cases from five years to seven years.
Criminals who brandish a gun during a crime would face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, rather than the current seven-year minimum.
Criminals who fire a gun while committing a crime would face a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years, rather than the current 10-year minimum.
Finally, the bill makes a technical correction to the Armed Career Criminal Act that clarifies the definition of a serious felony as any crime for which the maximum sentence is 10 years or more.
Text of the bill is available here.