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Florida proposes expansion of 'Stand Your Ground' law to allow citizens right to defend against rioters and looters

Gov. DeSantis has proposed legislation to expand the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law, permitting the use of firearms—and potentially lethal force—against acts of looting and rioting.

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Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, has proposed legislation to expand the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law, permitting the use of firearms—and potentially lethal force—against acts of looting and rioting.

The drafted legislation aims to deter “violent and disorderly assemblies” or “the interruption or impairment of a place of commerce” by extending the list of forcible felonies under self-defense laws in Florida. Per the language of the bill, that definition would extend to permit the use of firearms against an act of burglary within a radius of 500 feet.

The bill would also make blocking traffic in an act of protest a third-degree felony. According to Fox News, the proposal grants immunity to drivers who accidentally injure or kill protestors involved in disrupting traffic.

For DeSantis, it’s a bill in the name of law in order.

The Florida governor has often cited his strong stance on public safety—something he emphasized leading up to the presidential election. According to the Tampa Bay Times, DeSantis repeatedly told audiences at Trump rallies that he was en-route to proposing the “strongest pro-law enforcement, anti-rioting, anti-looting legislation anywhere in the country.”

But where Governor DeSantis sees his proposal as a way to create a safer public, many opponents of the bill have voiced concerns that the legislation is overtly lenient on gun-users and will lead to an increase in crime under the cover of law.

Denise Georges, a former protector in Miami, believes it will legitimize undue acts of violence.

“It allows for vigilantes to justify their actions,” Georges said. “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.”

While DeSantis’ proposed addition has only been introduced as this past month, the Stand Your Ground law isn’t new. In fact, it’s been a part of Florida’s legislation since 2005.

In accordance with State Title XLVI Statute Chapter 776, Florida law makes it permissible “to use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.”

Stated differently, “Stand Your Ground” is a self-defense law; Florida residents may use guns and other forms of lethal force to protect themselves when endangered.

The key change DeSantis is proposing is an extension of the list of defensible aggressions under Chapter 776 to include looting and rioting.

The legislation draft has been sent to be heard by the Florida House Judiciary Committee. Per the list of bills detailed by the Florida Senate, no date has yet been assigned for its hearing.

When asked by Fox News, DeSantis’ office did not immediately respond to comment.

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