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Abstract

This Comment confronts the difficult question of how to reformulate the deadly weapon sentencing enhancement to better align it with the policy goals of deterring and punishing armed crime. Part II explores the constitutional and practical defects in each of the three formulations of the sentencing enhancement’s armed requirement by delving into the enhancement’s legislative history and the judicial struggle to interpret it. Part III analyzes the need for a more nuanced approach to the weapon enhancement by exploring key criticisms about the enhancement’s scope and application. Part IV argues that the Washington legislature must provide courts with more rigid guidance, specifically by restoring the crux of the easily accessible test in a form that also takes into account the nature of the crime and the weapon. Part V concludes by urging immediate legislative action and exploring the consequences of further inaction.