Legislation that would increase penalties for people who falsely report a crime as part of so-called “swatting” pranks advanced out of a state Senate committee on a unanimous vote Monday.
Senate Bill 68 would make false reporting that involves an imminent threat by use of a deadly weapon a Class 1 misdemeanor, instead of a Class 2 or Class 3 misdemeanor. That could mean jail terms of up to 18 months instead of a maximum of a year or six months, respectively.
The measure is meant to specifically address situations where people make false reports to authorities to elicit a massive police response, specifically that of a SWAT team, as a joke or prank.
Those incidents are known as “swatting,” and they started among video-gamers several years ago. Last month, swatting was even blamed for the death of a Kansas man killed by an officer.