In response to recent threats targeting several New York school districts and a tragic school shooting in Nashville, State Senator Joseph Griffo and Representative Marianne Buttenschon are urging the Senate and Assembly to take action on a bill they have proposed. The legislation aims to hold individuals accountable for making threats of mass violence towards schools, colleges, universities, places of worship, mass gatherings, and businesses.
Senator Griffo and Representative Buttenschon have been introducing the bill for several years, which would amend the penal law and establish a new crime of making a threat of mass violence. The threat can be made in writing, verbally, or through any other means of communication.
The proposed legislation outlines two crimes:
- Making a threat of mass violence in the first degree: A class D felony for anyone 18 years or older, punishable by a $35,000 fine and a minimum sentence of three years in prison.
- Making a threat of mass violence in the second degree: Applies to individuals under 18, with a $35,000 fine and a mandatory 10-day sentence in a juvenile detention facility. Individuals over 18 who make a threat of mass violence against the school they attend would face the same charges and punishment as those under 18.
Currently, Senator Griffo’s bill (S1603) is in the Senate’s Codes Committee, while Representative Buttenschon’s bill (A6383) is in the Assembly’s Codes Committee.
Senator Griffo emphasized the need to hold those responsible for such threats accountable, stating that these threats cause widespread fear and disruption. Representative Buttenschon highlighted the increasing instances of mass violence and affirmed their commitment to working together to combat the crisis.
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