DENVER – Senator Van Winkle’s public safety swatting bill unanimously passed in the Senate. Senate Bill 249 will make the practice of falsely reporting an active shooter situation a class 6 felony. The bill will also classify a false emergency call that results in building lockdown or shelter-in-place order as a class 1 misdemeanor.
In February of this year, 17 Colorado schools were placed on lockdown after receiving a series of 911 calls from an individual threatening violence. ‘Swatting,’ as the practice is called, is when an individual calls law enforcement and falsely claims an emergency situation with the intent of eliciting an emergency response.
“As lawmakers, it is our responsibility to protect our communities and prioritize public safety,” Senator Van Winkle said. “Swatting is not a harmless prank, and has serious potential to put lives at risk. This bill will hold those who make these calls accountable, and send a strong message that these dangerous and irresponsible calls will not be tolerated.”
In 2018, Senator Van Winkle, then Representative to HD43, sponsored Senate Bill 18-068 which made the practice of swatting a class 1 misdemeanor. This bill also made swatting a class 4 or 3 felony if the call results in serious bodily injury or death, respectively.
Senate Bill 23-249 is just one of the many bills Colorado Republicans have introduced to address Colorado’s ongoing crime crisis. Colorado Senate Republicans will continue to fight for policies that prioritize public safety.
Senate Bill 23-249 will be considered in the statehouse in the coming weeks.