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Oklahoma Lawmaker's Bill Criminalizes Not Reporting Plans Of Mass Violence

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Republican Senator Brian Crain, of Tulsa. Republican Senator Brian Crain, of Tulsa.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

An Oklahoma State Senator wants to make it a crime for people who know about a mass killing plot to not report it.

Republican Senator Brian Crain, of Tulsa, also wants to increase the punishment for planning an act of mass violence to life in prison, and that would include kids as young as 13.

Proposed Senate Bill 995 is the same concept as Oklahoma's child abuse law. Right now, if you know about it and don't report it, it's a misdemeanor.

If this bill becomes law, the same would be true for acts of mass violence, but with one difference: if you don't report it and something happens, you'd be guilty of a felony and looking at five years in prison.

Bartlesville student Sammie Chavez was arrested last month after police say he attempted to recruit kids to lure students into the school auditorium, where he planned to shoot them after chaining the doors shut.

12/17/2012 Related Story: Police Find Guns In Home Of Bartlesville Teen Charged With Threatening School

The current punishment for a conviction of that crime is 10 years.

Under S.B. 995, that punishment would go up to life in prison.

It would apply to anyone who plots to cause serious injury or death to three or more people at a school, church, sporting event, or any public gathering where there's a lot of people. Even kids as young as 13 would be treated as adults under the law.

"It is such a severe crime, we need harsh punishment. And if you're 13, 14, 15, 16, you will be treated as an adult," said Senator Brian Crain. You won't have the expectation of it being a reverse certification crime and, you will not be entitled to a deferred sentence—you will go to prison."

His bill also would make it a crime to know about a plot and not report it as soon as practically possible.

It would be a misdemeanor if you don't tell, unless the shooting or act of violence happens, and then it would turn into a felony.

"Go call authorities. Don't call your friends, don't call your neighbors, call police," Crain said.

The bill also offers people a way out. If they back out of the plan, cooperate with police and the act is prevented, they won't go to prison.

Track The Legislation Here

For people worried that this law would punish people for thinking about a crime, the Senator said that is not the case.

"This is not a crime for thinking. Anybody can write a crime novel about a deranged killer who's going to kill a stadium full of people, but when that individual makes an overt act, driving to the stadium, measuring how much explosives are needed, that's where the crime occurs," Crain said.

Senator Crain said both defense attorneys and prosecutors had input on the bill.

It's been assigned to the Public Safety Committee and has two weeks for it to come to the floor for a possible vote.

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