Sunday, April 22, 2007

Saxman proposes putting teeth into already existing bomb threat laws

The Code of Virginia section §§18.2-83: Any person who makes any threat to bomb any place of assembly while knowing the claim to be false shall be guilty of a Class 5 felony. If that person is under fifteen years of age, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

It has been learned that the gunman involved in last week's VA Tech tragedy tested the university's official reaction to danger by making bomb threats in the days leading up to the horrific massacre on April 16.

In the wake of that rampage, a slew of bomb threats have been received by schools all across the country including right here in the Shenandoah Valley.

Delegate Chris Saxman has been paying attention. With four children in school, he is aware of the bomb threats called into many local schools causing young students to be emotionally traumatized and wasting the resources of our law enforcement officers. In most bomb scare cases, however, judges give a slap on the wrist to the offenders and let them go.

Delegate Saxman proposes putting teeth into existing bomb threat laws with legislation to include mandatory minimum sentences. There would be no more slaps on the wrist for someone who takes existing laws lightly.

Sounds like a good proposal to me. Read Delegate Saxman's press release below and make up your own mind.
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Delegate Saxman Wants Stronger Penalties for Bomb Threats: Will consider legislation to include mandatory minimum sentences - April 20, 2007

Staunton – Delegate Chris Saxman (R-Staunton) announced today that he wants to strengthen the Commonwealth’s penalties on making false bomb threats. He is considering legislation to be proposed in the 2008 session of the General Assembly which convenes in January.

In the past week, several false bomb threats have been called in to local area schools. In lieu of the recent bomb scares, Delegate Chris Saxman believes that Virginia needs to strengthen its laws on false bomb threat claims so parents feel safe sending their children to school and precious resources are not drained from our law enforcement community.

The Code of Virginia section §§18.2-83 states that any person who makes any threat to bomb any place of assembly while knowing the claim to be false shall be guilty of a Class 5 felony. If that person is under fifteen years of age, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

“These false bomb threats in the Shenandoah Valley and Virginia in the past week have highlighted the need to strengthen Virginia’s penalties on making these types of threats,” Delegate Saxman explained. “We need to make it known in Virginia that if you call in these false threats then you are going to be punished severely.”

Delegate Saxman will consider submitting legislation that will include mandatory minimum penalties for calling in false bomb threats for any person that commits such an act.

“These threats are a distraction to the students and unnecessarily frighten parents who expect their children to be safe at school. As a father of four, I understand the stress on a parent who learns of these threats made to a school. Not only do these threats affect our families but they also create a drain on our law enforcement officers – draining both time and resources to investigate them. I am going to study all avenues to toughen our laws on making these false threats. We must make it known that Virginia will not tolerate such criminal activity.”

2 comments:

Mad Hatter said...

I love our legislature. Only reactive, never proactive.

Why?

Simple answer... proaction doesn't garner votes. Firm responses to evil actions do.

SWAC Girl said...

I see you've had a healthy helping of cynicism tonight, Mr. Hatter....

You may want to talk with Chris Saxman about his thoughts on this ... with four children he was able to see their reactions to bomb threats called into their schools last week on top of the VA Tech shootings.

I would disagree that our legislature is "never" proactive but only reactive. Perhaps sometimes it takes actions to see the shortfallings of laws already on the books ... but perhaps I'm taking your statement the wrong way....