Local legislators are supporting a bill that would criminalize threats of mass violence, imposing fines and jail time for those convicted.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Joseph Griffo and Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, would make a threat of mass violence in the first degree a class D felony that would apply to anyone 18 or older. The crime would carry 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 would apply to individuals under the age of 18, with a fine of $35,000 and a mandatory sentence of 10 days in a juvenile detention facility.
According to the bill, anyone over 18 who makes a threat of mass violence against the school that they are attending would face a second-degree charge.
“Sadly, we have seen threats of mass violence made in various schools and communities throughout our region and New York state,” said Griffo. “However, the current consequences of making such threats are minor. This legislation will establish stern repercussions for individuals threatening mass violence and will show perpetrators that there are real consequences for their actions.
The bill (S8312) would amend the penal law, establishing a new crime of making a threat of mass violence toward a school, college or university, place of worship, mass gathering of 25 people or more or a business if the threat is made in writing, verbally communicated or expressed through any other means of communication.