Some states have seemingly allowed violent, rioting looters to roam free without much fear of police intervention during times of unrest, but in Florida that might no longer be the case, as the governor just proposed a law that will discourage would-be looters in a big way.
According to The New York Post, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that he has drafted a piece of “anti-mob” legislation that will expand the state’s Stand Your Ground self-defense laws. In essence, the legislation adds to the list of the state’s “forcible felonies” to include criminal actions that cause “interruption or impairment’ to a business.
But the section of the governor’s proposal that sparked headlines this week is the language that allows Florida residents to use force on looters who are partaking in that activity within 500 feet of a “violent or disorderly assembly.”
In other words, the controversial chant “You loot, we shoot,” in many ways could possibly soon become allowable under Florida law.
Adding to the state’s proposed laws to deter violent protests and looting includes upgrading criminal charges for activities like blocking major streets, which would become a felony under DeSantis’ proposal. Going further, the governor also wants to offer legal immunity should a driver hit and kill a protester who is blocking a street.
Should any communities in the state attempt to go against the legislation, if passed, the governor has also threatened to pull their state funding.
Even though Florida is not one of the states that has experienced mass looting and violent protests, that hasn’t stopped DeSantis from vowing to create the “strongest pro-law enforcement, anti-rioting, anti-looting legislation anywhere in the country.”
The bill has not yet been filed in the state’s legislature, as it’s still being reviewed in the state’s Senate Committee on Criminal Justice. But not unexpectedly, that hasn’t prevented those who oppose such stringent laws from expressing outrage over the possibility that it eventually becomes law.
Former Miami-Dade County prosecutor Denise Georges was far from happy with the proposed laws, claiming they would allow “vigilantes to justify their actions.”
“It also allows for death to be the punishment for a property crime — and that is cruel and unusual punishment. We cannot live in a lawless society where taking a life is done so casually and recklessly,” she added.
Others, including civil rights activists, fear that it could give private citizens too much leeway in what constitutes appropriate self-defense measures, while claiming the laws would infringe on free speech.
But in reality, what it does is prevent and deter potentially dangerous, frenzied mobs from destroying businesses and homes and protects the lives of innocent, law-abiding citizens. Criminals are much more likely to engage in bad behavior if they have no fear of resistance or law enforcement prevention.
Police can only respond after a bad situation has taken place. Giving law-abiding, armed citizens the legal ability to defend themselves is a sure-fire way to strongly discourage violent looters from going too far.