Juries Must Decide on Machine Gun Possession

The government made the claim that the federal law providing for a thirty year sentence for the commission of a crime with a machine gun was a sentencing enhancement, and therefore whether the gun was a machine gun could be decided by a judge by preponderance of the evidence, and applied during sentencing. The Supreme Court has ruled against the government’s position, ruling that the federal law in question 18 USC 924(c)1(B)(ii) was a separate federal crime, and that it had to be charged in an indictment and proved beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury.

Not much of an effect on gun owners here, unless you plan to rob a bank with a gun the feds later claim to be a machine gun.