Threats of violence against schools are on the rise both locally and nationally.

Now, two state lawmakers are urging the state legislature to act on legislation that would criminalize threats of mass violence made against schools and other places where people gather.

Senator Joseph Griffo and Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon first introduced the bill in 2018.

The legislation creates two crimes:

  • Making a threat of mass violence in the first degree would be considered a class D felony and would apply to anyone 18 years of age or older. The punishment for this crime would be a $35,000 fine and a sentence of no less than three years in prison.
  • Making a threat of mass violence in the second degree apply to individuals under the age of 18 and carry a fine of $35,000 and a mandatory sentence of 10 days in a juvenile detention facility. Individuals over 18 who make a threat of mass violence against the school that they are attending would be charged with the same crime and administered the same punishment as an individual under the age of 18.

“This ridiculous and outrageous use of social media is why we introduced this bill several years ago,” Griffo said. “Those responsible for these heinous and deliberate threats must know that there will be real and significant consequences and repercussions for their actions. It is past time for the Legislature to consider and act on our bill so that we can ensure that individuals making these threats are punished accordingly.”

The bill is currently in the Senate and Assembly’s Codes Committees.

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