Assemblyman Scott Gray (R-Watertown) recently introduced bill A.2977, which makes swatting a class E felony. Currently swatting is only punishable as a misdemeanor, either as false reporting of an incident or aggravated harassment. Last week, there were 36 swatting incidents statewide, and now Gray is rallying support for his anti-swatting legislation, which would make swatting a more severe crime. Swatting incidents have risen to a new level and Gov. Hochul agrees that these false threats are disruptive and trauma-inducing for children and teachers at the targeted schools, and for families in the surrounding areas.
“Last week we saw an unfortunate example of why my anti-swatting bill is critical to ward off swatting calls. Swatting is a false report to the police with the intent to cause chaos and disruption, as well as divert police resources, taking away valuable resources that should be used to stop actual crimes. Swatting places a heightened burden on law enforcement and introduces trauma to children, families and communities needlessly,” Gray said.
“My bill, which will designate these hoax calls as a class E felony, will combat the rise we are seeing across the state. We are all affected by this issue–when our sheriff's department, state police and local city police are taken away from their duties based on a false call, no one wins. The community as a whole is susceptible to even more disruption when these incidents occur. I implore my colleagues in the Legislature to support the anti-swatting bill I proposed to make swatting a class E felony,” Gray concluded.
Watch Assemblyman Gray’s interview with WIVB-TV here: https://youtu.be/cVxqrE-fmWs