WILKINS, Circuit Judge:
Herbert John Marin pled guilty to four counts of making a materially false statement in connection with the acquisition of firearms, 18 U.S.C.A. § 922(a)(6) (West Supp.1991) and six counts of unlawfully receiving a firearm while under indictment, 18 U.S.C.A. § 922(n) (West Supp.1991). Departing upward from Marin's applicable sentencing guideline range, the district court imposed a sentence of 24 months from which Marin appeals. The Government moved to dismiss this appeal on the ground that Marin waived the right to appeal his sentence. See 18 U.S.C.A. § 3742(a) (West 1985 & Supp.1991). Because Marin did waive his right to seek appellate review of his sentence, we dismiss.
Marin entered a plea agreement with the Government pursuant to which he agreed to plead guilty to various firearms charges. The agreement included an express waiver by Marin of his right to appeal from the sentence imposed by the district court. Additionally, the agreement contained an explicit reservation by the Government of its right to seek an upward departure from the applicable sentencing guideline range.
The presentence report calculated Marin's sentence under United States Sentencing Commission, Guidelines Manual, § 2K2.2(a)(2) (Nov.1990), entitled "Unlawful Trafficking and Other Prohibited Transactions Involving Firearms," which called for a base offense level of six. After a five-level enhancement for distribution of 25-49 weapons, U.S.S.G. § 2K2.2(b)(1)(E), and a two-level reduction for acceptance of responsibility, U.S.S.G. § 3E1.1(a), the resulting offense level was nine. Combined with a criminal history category II, the presentence report recommended a guideline range of six to twelve months. Marin, the Government, and the sentencing court agreed that the recommendation contained in the presentence report was a correct application of the sentencing guidelines.
The Government moved for an upward departure on the basis of the profusion of firearms violations occurring in the Eastern District of Virginia. The district court rejected this ground for departure but announced its decision to depart upward based upon "the quantity of a specific type of weapon (semi-automatic), the destructive nature of the weapons[,] ... the harm that could be inflicted, [and] selling the weapons for profit." The court then sentenced Marin to 24 months imprisonment.
Marin appeals this sentence principally arguing that the reasons for departure announced by the district court were adequately considered by the United States Sentencing Commission in promulgating the sentencing guidelines and, therefore, do not support the departure. Additionally, Marin contends that the sentencing court, in departing sua sponte, violated Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 32. He bases his argument on Burns v. United States, ___ U.S. ___, 111 S.Ct. 2182, 2187, 115 L.Ed.2d 123 (1991), wherein the Supreme Court held that before a district court may depart upward on a ground not identified in either the presentence report or a submission by the Government, a defendant must be provided notice of and the reasons for the contemplated departure and an opportunity to respond.
"[I]t is well settled that there is no constitutional right to an appeal." Abney v. United States, 431 U.S. 651, 656, 97 S.Ct. 2034, 2038, 52 L.Ed.2d 651 (1977). Prior to the enactment of the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, as amended, 18 U.S.C.A. §§ 3551, et seq. (West 1985 & Supp.1991), 28 U.S.C.A. §§ 991-98 (West Supp.1991),
Recognizing that "`defendants can waive fundamental constitutional rights such as the right to counsel, or the right to a jury trial,'" this court has upheld the validity of a defendant's waiver of the statutory right to appeal a sentence when the waiver was knowingly and voluntarily made. United States v. Wiggins, 905 F.2d 51, 53 (4th Cir.1990) (quoting United States v. Clark, 865 F.2d 1433, 1437 (4th Cir. 1989)). We have also held that a waiver is not knowingly or voluntarily made if the district court fails to specifically question the defendant concerning the waiver provision of the plea agreement during the Rule 11 colloquy and the record indicates that the defendant did not otherwise understand the full significance of the waiver. United States v. Wessells, 936 F.2d 165, 168 (4th Cir.1991). Whether a defendant effectively waived his right to appeal is a matter of law that this court reviews de novo. United States v. Bolinger, 940 F.2d 478, 479 (9th Cir.1991).
We agree with Marin that a defendant who waives his right to appeal does not subject himself to being sentenced entirely at the whim of the district court. For example, a defendant could not be said to have waived his right to appellate review of a sentence imposed in excess of the maximum penalty provided by statute or based on a constitutionally impermissible factor such as race. However, the sentence that Marin seeks to appeal is not such a sentence. Assuming the district court committed the errors that Marin alleges, his complaints at most rest on an improper application of the guidelines and a violation of a procedural rule.
Our review of the Rule 11 colloquy indicates that the district court questioned Marin at length concerning the waiver of his right to appeal and the reservation by the Government of the right to seek an upward departure. We consider "[t]he plea agreement and the circumstances surrounding its adoption ... wholly sufficient to establish that" Marin knowingly and voluntarily waived his right to appeal. Wiggins, 905 F.2d at 54. Consequently, we conclude that appellate review of the sentencing errors raised in this appeal is foreclosed.