Mandatory Sentences Under the 10-20-Life Law
In 1999, Governor Bush signed into law the 10-20-LIFE bill. The law requires
a minimum 10-year sentence for crimes committed with a gun, a 20-year
sentence for firing the gun during the commission of a crime and 25 years
to life if the bullet fired causes death or injury.
legislation enacted to implement the Governor's proposal provided mandatory sentences
for felons convicted of crimes in which they used a gun. The following
provisions [Section 775.087 (2)-(4), Florida Statutes] became effective
for crimes committed on or after July 1, 1999.
For pulling a gun during a crime, a mandatory
minimum sentence of 10 years is imposed. For certain
felony crimes or attempted felonies, the 10 year mandatory sentence is authorized
if the criminal possessed a gun (or destructive device). For firing the
gun during a crime the mandatory minimum sentence is 20 years. For injuring
or killing a victim by firing the gun during a crime, a mandatory minimum
25 years to life in prison is authorized.
For many years, it has been a felony crime in Florida for felons to possess
guns. Recognizing that felons who possess guns, despite this violation
of law, may intend to commit other serious crimes using guns, the 10-20-Life
legislation provided for a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 3 years
for such known felons who possess a gun.
This provision alone has affected many felons sentenced to prison in Florida.
The legislation also increased to a 15 year minimum prison term when the
offender possesses a semiautomatic firearm and its high-capacity detachable
box magazine or a machine gun.