According to US Code 18 Section 871, it is a Class D Felony to threaten the president of the United States.
The code states:
(a) Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits for conveyance in the mail or for a delivery from any post office or by any letter carrier any letter, paper, writing, print, missive, or document containing any threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States, the President-elect, the Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President of the United States, or the Vice President-elect, or knowingly and willfully otherwise makes any such threat against the President, President-elect, Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President, or Vice President-elect, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
(b) The terms “President-elect” and “Vice President-elect” as used in this section shall mean such persons as are the apparent successful candidates for the offices of President and Vice President, respectively, as ascertained from the results of the general elections held to determine the electors of President and Vice President in accordance with title 3, United States Code, sections 1 and 2. The phrase “other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President” as used in this section shall mean the person next in the order of succession to act as President in accordance with title 3, United States Code, sections 19 and 20.
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Last June a secret service agent received an anonymous call reporting that Britton had used his computer to threaten the president. The 25 year old Birmingham man was been charged and arrested for a tweeting, “Barack Obama, I wish you were DEAD!”
That tweet has been removed from the account…but the following later tweet is still intact:
Jarvis Britton pleaded guilty today of using a social network to threaten the life of President Obama. The sentencing of Mr. Britton is scheduled for June, and the penalties of a class D felony under the US Code is “…punishable by five to ten years in prison, a $250,000 maximum fine, a $100 special assessment, and 3 years of supervised release. Internet restrictions such as a prohibition on access to email have been imposed on offenders who made their threats by computer. ”
Welcome to a new era: New Media can do great things, but like any other medium, can be used for evil by those with evil intent in their hearts. As with guns, it’s not the New Media, which is merely a tool, it’s the human being with bad motives in his heart that should be constrained and punished.