Swatting and Drive-by Shooting Bill Signed by Kemp

Punishments for both swatting and drive-by shootings are now harsher thanks to a bill signed into law this week.

The changes follow the signing of SB 421 by Governor Kemp.

Swatting is a false call to 911 in an attempt to trigger an armed swat team to a home, business or house of worship in an attempt to lead to an armed standoff or intimidation of those involved. The

The punishment is enhanced under the new law into tiers:

  • 1st conviction – misdemeanor – high and aggravated nature
  • 2nd conviction – felony punishable by 5-10 years in prison and $5,000 fine
  • 3rd conviction (or any thereafter) – felony with 10-15 years in prison and fine of $25,000.

Further, irrespective of prior convictions, if a person is convicted of swatting a place of worship, the first conviction is an automatic felony.

Drive-by shootings are gunshots from cars at houses, buildings or other cars, which, according to lawmakers, are often by gang members or drug dealers.

The new legislation adds language to define a drive-by shooting as also instances where shots are fired ‘after immediately exiting a vehicle,’ as the current law only says shots fired from a vehicle. Additionally, the offense applies not just when a person is shot at but also an occupied motor vehicle or an occupied building.

The punishment is enhanced under the new law to a mandatory minimum of five years in prison with a maximum of 20 years in prison.

State Representative Matt Reeves, the House sponsor of State Senator Clint Dixon’s Senate Bill 421, praised Governor Kemp’s signing of the legislation this week at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth, Georgia.

“Georgia getting tougher on swatting and drive-by shootings will keep people safer in their homes and businesses, will save lives and will also keep our brave members of law enforcement safer on the job,” said Rep. Reeves.

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