Sen. Rick Scott Introduces Legislation to Crack Down on “Swatting” Crimes

January 17, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Rick Scott, Senator Tommy Tuberville and Senator Mike Rounds introduced the Preserving Safe Communities by Ending Swatting Act, which expands the federal criminal hoax statute to specifically prohibit “swatting” hoaxes through which false information about a crime is reported to law enforcement with the intent of eliciting an emergency response at a target address. This legislation would impose strict penalties for swatting, including up to 20 years in prison if someone is seriously hurt because of a swatting attack.


This bill is endorsed by the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) and the National Sheriffs’ Association. It is led by Representative David Kustoff in the House of Representatives.


Senator Rick Scott said, “Last month, criminals attempted a ‘swatting’ on my home in Florida in a despicable act of cowardice, clearly intending to terrorize my family and inflict fear and violence. This is happening around the nation, not just to elected officials, but also to hundreds of Jewish institutions. It’s sickening, dangerous and we must stop it. I’m incredibly grateful for the work of law enforcement around our nation to keep us safe and put their lives on the line every day. They shouldn’t be put in danger and have their time and resources wasted because of these disgusting hoaxes. Today, I am introducing a bill to make sure the criminals who make these false calls and waste law enforcement resources face serious consequences, including years in prison, if anyone is seriously harmed. We must send a message to the cowards behind these calls—this isn’t a joke, it’s a crime.”


Bill Johnson, Executive Director, National Association of Police Organizations, said, “Swatting calls are on the rise and are used to harass and intimidate the victims. These calls are not only a serious waste of resources, but they also put the officers and any innocent people at the scene of the fake incident in a dangerous and difficult situation. NAPO supports the Preserving Safe Communities by Ending Swatting Act as it would impose strict penalties for swatting, particularly if someone is seriously hurt because of a swatting attack. Stricter penalties act as a deterrent, and we thank Senator Rick Scott for introducing this important legislation.”


Sheriff Greg Champagne, St. Charles Parish, LA, President of the National Sheriffs’ Association, said, “The National Sheriffs' Association endorses Senator Scott's anti-swatting legislation. This serious initiative addresses an ongoing and alarming surge in criminal activity that transcends both county and state lines. Criminals continue to exploit online resources, jeopardizing the safety of civilians and our dedicated deputy sheriffs and other first responders. Congress must act swiftly to enact this crucial legislation to safeguard the lives of community members who may become targets of such dangerous criminal activities based on political ideology.”