On November 15, 2007, the US Supreme Court ruled in Abbot v. United States to uphold a federal statute, 18 USC § 924(c), increasing mandatory minimum sentences for drug trafficking crimes committed with guns. The decision was a consolidated opinion in which both defendants argued that the five additional years of prison time they each received for using or carrying a firearm during their respective crimes were invalid because they violated already existing mandatory minimum sentences. The Court's decision affirmed rulings from the US Courts of Appeal for the Third and Fifth Circuits [PDF], noting that the defense's construction of the law would have been contrary to the intentions of Congress. Justice Elena Kagan did not participate in the decision.
Learn more about the laws governing gun control and sentencing guidelines from the JURIST news archive.