Separate Section 924(c) Counts Based on Temporally
Several courts have held that the unit of prosecution in a §
case is the use of the firearm, rather than the underlying narcotics offense
crime of violence. Consequently, these cases hold that a single predicate
offense, such as conspiracy to distribute narcotics, can support multiple
924(c) counts. See United States v. Camps, 32 F.3d 102,
(4th Cir. 1994), cert. denied, 115 S. Ct. 1118 (1995); United
v. Edwards, 994 F.2d 417, 423-24 (8th Cir.), cert. denied, 114 S.
701 (1993). Other courts have held that the predicate offense, and not the
firearm, is the unit of prosecution for a § 924(c) violation.
United States v. Taylor, 13 F.3d 986, 993 (6th Cir. 1994); United
States v. Dahlman, 13 F.3d 1391, 1401 (10th Cir. 1993), cert.
114 S. Ct. 1575 (1994). Under this analysis, each § 924(c) count must
based on a different predicate offense. Therefore, a single continuing
conspiracy -- even one that embraces multiple discrete firearms transactions
is insufficient to support multiple § 924(c) counts. See
States v. Anderson, 59 F.3d 1323 (D.C. Cir. 1995) (en banc).|
To avoid exacerbating the conflict in the circuits on this issue,
Criminal Division urges prosecutors to base each § 924(c) count on a
separate, distinct predicate narcotics offense or Federal crime of violence.
[cited in USAM 9-63.500]