Earlier this week, U.S. Sens. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn), Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) introduced the so-called Preserving Safe Communities by Ending Swatting Act, which according to a release from Scott's office would expand the federal criminal hoax statute to "specifically prohibit "swatting" hoaxes through which false information about a crime is reported to law enforcement with the intent of eliciting an emergency response at a target address."
The bill would impose strict penalties for swatting, including up to 20 years in prison if someone is seriously hurt because of a swatting attack, the release said.
U.S. Rep. David Kustoff (R-Tenn.) will introduce the legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Both Tuberville and Scott were victims of alleged swatting last month.
"Last month, criminals attempted a 'swatting' on my home in Florida in a despicable act of cowardice, clearly intending to terrorize my family and inflict fear and violence," Scott said in the release. "This is happening around the nation, not just to elected officials, but also to hundreds of Jewish institutions. It's sickening, dangerous and we must stop it. I'm incredibly grateful for the work of law enforcement around our nation to keep us safe and put their lives on the line every day. They shouldn't be put in danger and have their time and resources wasted because of these disgusting hoaxes. Today, I am introducing a bill to make sure the criminals who make these false calls and waste law enforcement resources face serious consequences, including years in prison, if anyone is seriously harmed. We must send a message to the cowards behind these calls—this isn't a joke, it's a crime."
This bill is endorsed by the National Association of Police Organizations and the National Sheriffs' Association.
Jeff Poor is the editor in chief of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.
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