Wyatt Hardy, PLC

Criminal, Family and Probate Law

Wyatt Hardy, PLC

Criminal, Family and Probate Law


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Threatening a school shooting – is it a crime?

On Behalf of | Nov 17, 2023 | Criminal Defense

For worse, the U.S. sees more school shootings than any other country in the world. In this year alone, there have been at least 71 school shooting incidents in America as of November.

Because school shootings are some of the most deplorable crimes anyone can commit, law enforcement takes all cases seriously – including implied threats to cause a mass shooting. It’s a crime to communicate a school shooting in Arkansas, even if the shooting never transpires.

Communicating a school shooting is making a death threat

According to state law, a person commits the offense of communicating a death threat concerning a school employee or student if the following apply:

  • Clearly communicated threat: The person tells any other person a threat that they’ll cause the death of a school employee or student.
  • Weapons involved: The communicated threat involves the use of a firearm or other deadly weapon.
  • Reasonable risk: Another individual would reasonably believe the person making the threat intends to carry it out.
  • Substantial step: The person making the threat engaged in conduct – taking a substantial step – to further their planned shooting.
  • Link between substantial step and threat: There should be a close link between the person’s conduct and their threat.

Communicating a death threat to a school employee or student is a Class D felony.

The penalties for making a school shooting threat

A conviction for the offense of making a school shooting threat leads to up to six years of imprisonment and $10,000 in fines.

Making a school shooting threat is no joke – it’s a crime in Arkansas, and there are criminal penalties for anyone who communicates a threat. If a teenage student communicates such a threat and they’re at least 14 years old, the crime still constitutes a felony. It’s important for anyone facing charges to understand that even if they’re young and underage, this crime is a felony.