With the trial of Fahrudin Omerovic taking place in Oneida County Court, Senator Joseph Griffo is pushing legislation he introduced that would criminalize threats of mass violence against schools, colleges, businesses and places of worship.

Omerovic is accused of calling in several threats to Utica College in March, resulting in the campus going on lockdown.

The bill would amend the penal law and establish a new crime of making a threat of mass violence.

Making a threat of mass violence in the first degree would be considered a class D felony and would apply to anyone 18 years of age or older.  The punishment for the crime would be a $35,000 fine and a sentence of no less than three years in prison.

"Threats of mass violence have resulted in widespread fear and disruption and come at significant cost to the communities in which the threats are made," Griffo said. "Currently, the consequences of such threats are minor. Those who decide to make a threat of mass violence need to understand that there are real consequences for doing so. This bill will ensure that individuals making these threats are punished accordingly."

Griffo's legislation is currently in the state Senate's Codes Committee.

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