ShareThis Page
News

Ruling enhances federal penalty for theft of firearms

| Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011

Stealing firearms now carries a potentially longer sentence.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Wednesday that a change in federal sentencing guidelines dismantles its previous ruling that people convicted of stealing firearms were not subject to an enhancement adding time for carrying a firearm during the commission of a felony.

The ruling came in the case of Jason Keller, 32, of Hyattsville, Md., who pleaded guilty in June to driving a stolen vehicle through the front door of FAZI Firearms in Plum and stealing 30 firearms in 2007.

The government asked for the firearm enhancement, which would have given Keller a recommended sentence of five years and 10 months to seven years and three months in prison.

Relying on the 3rd Circuit's previous ruling, U.S. District Judge Gary Lancaster removed the enhancement, which lowered Keller's recommended sentence to three years and 10 months to four years and nine months. He then sentenced Keller to four years in prison.

Federal prosecutors appealed the decision, and the 3rd Circuit overturned it yesterday. The appeals court sent the case back to Lancaster for new sentencing.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me