senate Bill S7931

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Relates to the threat of mass violence

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee

  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jul 31, 2014 referred to rules

S7931 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
Current Committee:
Law Section:
Penal Law
Laws Affected:
Amd ยง240.60, Pen L

S7931 - Bill Texts

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Relates to the threat of mass violence.

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TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the penal law, in relation to threats
of mass violence

PURPOSE: This bill would expand the provisions of Article 240 of the
Penal Law to make all threats of mass violence against a school a


Section 1 amends subdivision 5 of section 240.60 of Article 240 of the
Penal Law to include all threats of mass violence against a school in
the definition of falsely reporting an incident in the first degree, a
class D felony.

Section 2 states this act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after
it shall have become law.

JUSTIFICATION: Under current law, if an individual threatens a fire,
explosion or release of a hazardous substance on school grounds, he or
she is guilty of a class D felony of falsely reporting an incident in
the first degree.

However, in the years that have passed since the enactment of the
current law, the nature of the threats facing schools have changed Any
threat of mass violence against a school, regardless of the implement
threatened to be used, creates immense fear for both students and
staff, disrupts the learning process, and ultimately dilutes the
response if an actual incident were to occur.

In one such instance, a community in central New York, Walton (in
Delaware County), has been the victim of repeated threats. Starting in
January 2013, just after the tragic events in Newtown, CT, an
individual made a series of threat using social media. These threats,
which required police presence and cancellation of school events, were
explicit, and were accompanied by photos of dead children. Due to
their understandable fear, parents kept their children home while the
investigation proceeded.

When the perpetrator (an adult woman in the community) was
apprehended, she was charged with misdemeanor harassment. The school
was informed that this type of threat did not legally rise to the same
level as a bomb threat and this was all that could be done.

After the perpetrator was convicted and subsequently released, the
threats resumed in May. The end of the year was terrifying for
parents, students, faculty and staff. Recess was moved indoors,
activities cancelled, and schools were put on lockdown. Eventually the
same perpetrator was rearrested and reconvicted. Again the charge was
misdemeanor harassment. Again she was released with the same
explanation that she had not made a threat with a bomb or similar
device and therefore the crime did not rise to the level of a felony.

While this story represents the experience of a single district, it
highlights an inadequacy in the current law, If a school is threatened
with mass violence, the implement threatened to be used should not

mitigate the crime; the charge should be commensurate with the
devastating harm such threats have on a community.


FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the state

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after
it shall have become law.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K


                            I N  S E N A T E

                              July 31, 2014

Introduced  by Sen. GALLIVAN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Rules

AN ACT to amend the penal law, in relation to threats of mass violence


  Section  1. Subdivision 5 of section 240.60 of the penal law, as added
by chapter 561 of the laws of 1999, is amended to read as follows:
  5. Knowing the information reported,  conveyed  or  circulated  to  be
false  or  baseless and under circumstances in which it is likely public
alarm or inconvenience will result, he or she initiates or circulates  a
report or warning of an alleged occurrence or an impending occurrence of
a  fire,  an explosion, [or] the release of a hazardous substance, OR AN
ACT OF MASS VIOLENCE upon school grounds and it is likely  that  persons
are present on said grounds.
  S  2.  This  act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall
have become a law.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.


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