Rep. Elaine Davis proposes expanded penalty for intentional false reporting

The House Criminal Justice Committee on Tuesday advanced a bill that will expand the penalty for intentionally false-reporting emergencies in Tennessee, sometimes referred to as “swatting.”

House Bill 2395, introduced by State Rep. Elaine Davis, R-Knoxville, will add active shooter or hostage situations to the Class C felony offense of intentionally circulating a false emergency report. 

“Swatting and false reporting are cowardly and extremely dangerous things to do,” Davis said. “Adding false reporting of active shooter and hostage situations to the law is a common-sense solution to prevent future incidents in which someone could be hurt or killed. We must ensure law enforcement is using their resources to respond to actual threats, not made-up situations.”

Knowingly false reporting past, present or future bombings and fires to draw a large law enforcement response and interrupt the building occupant is already a Class C felony in Tennessee.

Several public officials have had their private homes swatted, including Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett of Knoxville, U.S. House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., and U.S. Rep. Shontel Brown, D-Ohio.

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