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Strict Liability Enhancement for Possessing a Stolen Firearm Survives Havis, Rehaif

The sentencing guideline for unlawful possession of a firearm increases the offense level if the firearm was stolen. This enhancement applies on a strict liability basis; it does not require any mens rea. The Sixth Circuit had previously approved holding defendants strictly liable for possessing stolen firearms, noting the commentary to the guidelines states that the enhancement applies regardless of whether the defendant knew or had reason to know the firearm was stolen.However, in light of recent case law, Anthony Palos argued for a mens rea requirement. First, the defendant relied on the Sixth Circuit’s en banc opinion in United States v. Havis, 927 F.3d 382 (6th Cir. 2019). In Havis, the Court held that the commentary to the guidelines improperly added attempt crimes to the list of controlled substance offenses. Applying Havis, the defendant argued that the commentary improperly expanded § 2K2.1(b)(4) by stating that there is no mens rea requirement. The Sixth Circuit rejected thi…

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