Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has proposed a reform to the state’s Stand Your Ground law, which protects citizens who defend themselves with firearms, that would extend legal protections to people defending against mob violence, the Miami Herald reported.
The “anti-mob” provision would let citizens protect themselves, without fear of legal repercussions, against anarchists, arsonists, rioters, and looters—a group Leftist media have described as peaceful protesters.
The law would enlarge the definition of “forcible felonies” to include “violent and disorderly assemblies” and “criminal mischief” that threaten the “interruption or impairment” of business’s operations.
The legislation would allow citizens to use lethal force within 500 feet of any mob’s criminal activity.
Florida’s 2005 Stand Your Ground law, which became a model for other states, eliminates the legal requirement to try to flee a violent encounter before using deadly force.
The law was strengthened in 2017 by shifting to the prosecutor the burden of providing “clear and convincing” evidence that the defendant did not act in self-defense.
Opponents of the proposed law have described it as an effort to suppress peaceful protests against racial injustice and so-called police brutality.
Former Miami-Dade prosecutor Aubrey Webb said, without providing evidence, that the law would effectively legalize vigilantism, the Miami Herald reported.
“It dangerously gives armed private citizens power to kill as they subjectively determine what constitutes ‘criminal mischief’ that interferes with a business,” Webb said. “Someone graffitiing ‘Black Lives Matter’ on a wall? Urinating behind a dumpster? Blocking an entrance?”
“The Boston Tea Party members would have been lawfully shot under Florida’s law by the British East India Tea Company,” he added.
Former Miami-Dade County prosecutor Denise Georges also argued against the law.
“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.”
Property crimes, especially when committed by mob organizations like Antifa and Black Lives Matter, always present the prospect that life could be lost.