DeSantis To Add Defense Against Looting & Rioting to Florida's 'Stand Your Ground' Laws

Brittany M. Hughes | November 11, 2020
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While Democratic governors are making it easier for rioters and looters to trash cities and ruin innocent citizens’ lives, at least one governor is defending his residents – by helping them defend against those who’d seek to destroy their businesses.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who already helped protect businesses and Floridians from the economic devastation of prolonged COVID shutdowns, is now looking to expand his state’s “stand your ground” laws to including defending against looters and violent rioters.

The new “anti-mob” legislation, still in draft form, would add to the state’s list of “enforceable felonies” that justify self-defense any criminal mischief that contributes to the “interruption or impairment” of a business, as well as looting, defined as a burglary within 500 feet of a “violent or disorderly assembly.”

The measure would also further criminalize “violent or disorderly assemblies,” make blocking traffic during a protest a third-degree felony, strip state funding from localities that slash their law enforcement budgets, and help protect drivers who injure or kill protesters who are blocking traffic on a case-by-case basis.

Critics, of course, call the measure a “political show,” accusing DeSantis of making it easier for “vigilantes” to target protesters – even peaceful ones – by claiming self-defense.

Florida’s “stand your ground” law already states that a person has “no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force” if they are attacked in a place where they have a lawful right to be, if they are committing no criminal activity, and if they have a reasonable belief that they are in danger.

Florida is one of many states that have experienced riots, burglaries and vandalism connected with left-wing protests for “racial justice.” After one particularly violent night in May, the morning-after scene in Miami was described as appearing as though a tornado had ripped through the town after protests-turned-riots left countless stores trashed, vandalized and looted. Nine businesses were damaged after a similar mob tore through downtown Fort Lauderdale, where many stores were saved from destruction only because of their hurricane-proof windows and doors. Recently, businesses in South Florida boarded up their doors and windows in preparation for Election Day, concerned that a Trump win over Democrat Joe Biden could lead to violence and looting.