LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Governor Glenn Youngkin signed a bill on May 4 that will increase the penalties for reporting false emergencies.
These false emergency threats are also known as “swatting calls,” and they cause first responders, police, and even SWAT teams to attend to situations that end up being a hoax.
Gov. Youngkin visited E.C. Glass High School in Lynchburg on Thursday, where he signed two bills related to swatting calls.
E.C. Glass students were victims of a swatting call incident in September of 2022. The school was placed on lockdown after receiving reports of a gunman in the building. Police investigated the incident and later discovered the threat was fake.
“These aren’t prank calls. This is a crime and the last thing we need to do is have our first responders show up to schools and universities thinking that there is a real threat when there is not,” said Gov. Youngkin.
The law will go into effect in July. The bill will increase the consequences for reporting false emergencies by classifying the crime as a class one misdemeanor. Even harsher charges may be filed if someone is hurt or dies as a result of the fake call.