DeSantis Drafts Legislation That Will Allow Citizens to Shoot Looters

Gov. Ron DeSan­tis has draft­ed “anti-mob” leg­is­la­tion that would expand Florida’s Stand Your Ground law — a move that crit­ics say will allow armed cit­i­zens to shoot sus­pect­ed loot­ers or any­one engaged in “crim­i­nal mis­chief” that dis­rupts a business.

Lawyers say it’s just one of the many trou­bling aspects of the draft bill being pushed by the Repub­li­can gov­er­nor in response to police-bru­tal­i­ty protests that erupt­ed across Flori­da and the Unit­ed States this summer.

“It allows for vig­i­lantes to jus­ti­fy their actions,” said Denise Georges, a for­mer Mia­mi-Dade Coun­ty pros­e­cu­tor who had han­dled Stand Your Ground cas­es. “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.”

The draft leg­is­la­tion put specifics behind DeSan­tis’ pledge in Sep­tem­ber to crack down on “vio­lent and dis­or­der­ly assem­blies” after he point­ed to “reports of unrest” in oth­er parts of the coun­try after the high-pro­file death of George Floyd, a Black man killed by a white Min­neapo­lis police officer.

The pro­pos­al would expand the list of “forcible felonies” under Florida’s self-defense law to jus­ti­fy the use of force against peo­ple who engage in crim­i­nal mis­chief that results in the “inter­rup­tion or impair­ment” of a busi­ness, and loot­ing, which the draft defines as a bur­glary with­in 500 feet of a “vio­lent or dis­or­der­ly assembly.”

Mia­mi Herald


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