McLAUGHLIN v. UNITED STATESNo. 85-5189.
476 U.S. 16 (1986)
Supreme Court of United States.
Argued March 31, 1986
Decided April 29, 1986
Stephen J. Cribari, by appointment of the Court, 474 U.S. 1003, argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the briefs was Fred Warren Bennett.
Christopher J. Wright argued the cause for the United States. With him on the brief were Solicitor General Fried, Assistant Attorney General Trott, Deputy Solicitor General Frey, and Joel M. Gershowitz.
JUSTICE STEVENS delivered the opinion of the Court.
The question presented is whether an unloaded handgun is a "dangerous weapon" within the meaning of the federal bank robbery statute.
At about 9:30 a.m. on July 26, 1984, petitioner and a companion, both wearing stocking masks and gloves, entered a bank in Baltimore. Petitioner thereupon displayed a dark handgun and ordered everyone in the bank to put his hands up and not to move. While petitioner remained in the lobby area holding the gun, his companion vaulted the counter and placed about $3,400 in a brown paper bag. The two robbers were apprehended by a police officer as they left the bank. Petitioner's gun was not loaded.
Three reasons, each independently sufficient, support the conclusion that an unloaded gun is a "dangerous weapon." First, a gun is an article that is typically and characteristically dangerous; the use for which it is manufactured and sold is a dangerous one, and the law reasonably may presume that such an article is always dangerous even though it may not be armed at a particular time or place. In addition, the display
Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Appeals is Affirmed.
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