ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – There have been at least four shooting threats made against Albuquerque schools since class started back up in August. A New Mexico lawmaker says a bill he’s reintroducing at the upcoming session would deter people from making these threats.
“It’s not illegal currently to call in a shooting threat to any building,” says Republican Senator Craig Brandt. “It seems like a very common sense thing. We have a felony if you call in a bomb threat, a shooting threat is pretty much the same alignment.”
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That may come as a surprise to a lot of people and for years, Sen. Brandt has been pushing a bill that would make a shooting threat a felony too. Brandt says the request came from a group of Aztec High students who witnessed firsthand just how seriously these threats should be taken. “It’s just one of those things that I promised to those students,” says Sen. Brandt.
Back in 2017, a gunman opened fire at Aztec High, killing two students. “My son was out in the hallway when he started hearing the shooting,” said Casey Marquez in a 2017 interview with KRQE News 13.
“Because kids have learned that it’s not a crime, that they can get away with that,” Sen. Brandt says.
Since this school year started, KRQE has reported on at least four threats made against Albuquerque schools, including in November when Wilson Stadium was evacuated during a football game. Then in December, a viral challenge on TikTok was encouraging students to make school threats.
“We continue to see shooting threats, and let’s be honest, they’re mainly at schools,” says Sen. Brandt.
Now, if passed, Brandt’s bill would treat shooting threats like bomb scares. It would be considered a fourth-degree felony. He says it would deter people from making these kinds of threats. “It’s also a way of hopefully protecting our kids, protecting them from being subjected to this over and over again,” says Brandt.
The bill would not just apply to school shooting threats. The suspect could be charged if they use a threat to cause fear in others, interrupt the operations of a public building, or spark a police response.