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This bill would modify the penalty for the threat of
exhibiting a firearm in certain circumstances. Under current law, it is a third-degree
felony to threaten to exhibit or use a firearm on or in any school property including a school bus. If this bill passes, a threat to exhibit or use a firearm in
or on certain private and public school property or on a school bus, would be
punishable as a Class A misdemeanor.
While it may be a serious offense to threaten to exhibit or use a firearm on or in school property, we are not convinced that every such a threat constitutes a felony level offense. A felony offense means that a person would have to face the lifelong collateral consequences that arise due to the conviction, this is especially problematic if the felony is for a mere threat they made as a child.
It is not uncommon for school children make foolish blustering threats they have no intention of backing up, or perhaps even lack the ability to back up. These immature youthful indiscretions should not be punished at a higher level than necessary. For this bill’s role in reducing overcriminalization, we support HB 2880.