Representative John Whitmer along with two House colleagues jointly introduced House Bill 2581, a bill to address swatting today in the House Judiciary Committee…
January, 30, 2018
The bill would create new law which would make life threatening injuries or a death, exclusively due to transmitting or communicating false or misleading information to law enforcement, a felony. Should bodily harm occur as a result of swatting, the individual who made the prank call would be responsible and charged with a severity level 6, person felony. Should great bodily harm occur, that individual would be charged with a severity level 4, person felony. Should a death occur, that individual would be charged with a severity level 2, person felony. Under current law, per K.S.A. 21-6207, making such a call under false pretenses yields a severity level 7, nonperson felony, and no provisions exist should individuals suffer harm as a result.
“We have felt the impact of swatting right here at home with the recent tragedy of 28-year-old Andrew Finch,” Representative Whitmer stated. “This bill is about preventing horrible incidents like these from taking place, and holding individuals responsible for their actions. If a false alarm or prank call results in the serious injury or fatality of an innocent bystander, the caller must be held accountable. What we saw in Wichita was vile, despicable, and cruel. We cannot let this continue.”
Swatting occurs when an individual requests emergency service assistance unlawfully, under false pretenses, which results in the arrival of law enforcement at a particular address. Two instances of swatting have occurred recently in the past two months in Kansas, specifically in the cities of Overland Park and Wichita, one of which resulted in a fatality.