USA v. Pena, No. 23-10167 (5th Cir. 2024)Annotate this Case
Eric Salvador Pena, a convicted felon, sold a firearm to a confidential informant working for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”). He was subsequently arrested for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and pleaded guilty. At sentencing, the district court applied an enhanced offense level as the firearm sold was capable of accepting a large-capacity magazine, offering a guideline range of 51 to 63 months of incarceration. Pena objected, arguing that the firearm could not function with a fully loaded magazine and therefore did not meet the definition of being "capable of accepting a large capacity magazine".
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit disagreed with Pena's argument. It held that the firearm in question met the definition because it could accept and function with a magazine containing more than 15 rounds of ammunition, even though it had jammed during a test when fully loaded. The court also determined that the district court had not erred procedurally or substantively in sentencing. It affirmed the district court’s decision to impose a 63-month sentence of incarceration and 3 years of supervised release.