The state government of Kansas in the United States has passed an anti-swatting bill several months after the accidental shooting death of victim Andrew Finch, who was killed by police after a swatting call called police to the wrong house due to reports of a murder and hostage situation.
Swatting has become more and more prevalent in the online gaming community over the years, and is used by trolls to call the police to the homes of streamers and other gamers with false reports of crimes like murders or hostage situations taking place. While these hadn’t resulted in any deaths, Andrew Finch’s case brought national attention.
The new anti-swatting bill will levy strict punishments against anyone that makes a swatting call that results in death or serious injury to another person. The act will constitute a level one felony, which will give the perpetrator a prison sentence of anywhere from ten to forty-one years, depending on their criminal record.
While this may not deter some swatters, especially those who don’t think they’ll get caught, it at least sends a message that behavior like this isn’t going to be tolerated, at least in Kansas now.
The main issue with enforcing the bill will be the ability to track down where swatting calls are coming from. Many swatting calls come from far outside the area, with the perpetrators using caller ID spoofing (meaning that the caller ID shows a fake number to hide their location) and various other methods in order to make it seem like it’s a local call, rather than coming from another state or an entirely different country.
Hopefully the law will cause many other similar laws to be passed in other states and other countries, in order to at least protect people from the possibility of being accidentally killed by SWAT teams even if it’s not video game related.