Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is making a push to expand the protection of “Stand Your Ground” protections in the state. WESH 2 News reports that the governor sent a draft of a legislation proposal to the state legislature ahead of its 2021 sessions set to being soon.
This is an issue that has weighed heavily on the mind of the governor for some time. Among the items the draft proposes is extending stand your ground protection to people using force during criminal acts during protests, like looting.
Florida State Senator David Simmons, one of the proponents responsible for helping pass the original Stand Your Ground legislation, says that if drafted properly, these changes could make good sense. While he doesn’t disagree with expanding the original law, he does reiterate that in order to qualify for Stand Your Ground protection people must first be attacked — and they must be in a place where they have the right to be.
Of course, there are those who oppose expanding the law citing claims that it promotes a vigilante approach to justice and the idea that killing people over property crimes is excessive.
Some opponents of the legislation DeSantis proposed are calling it a distraction, stating that Florida doesn’t have a large problem with rioting and looting, and would rather focus on issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. While it’s true that Florida’s cities haven’t been hit quite as hard as places in California, New York, and other states — the impact of lawlessness can’t be ignored.
However, the proposal by the governor also includes enhanced criminal penalties for people involved in assemblies that become violent, something many citizens are behind. Another part of the bill that is well received by ordinary citizens on the left and the right is the withholding of state money from local governments that decrease police funding.
While there is plenty of political opposition to expanding Stand Your Ground, it addresses concerns that many Floridian conservatives share. The battle looms large ahead of the coming legislative session though and legislators are already drawing lines in the sand.
For instance, Orlando Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith has harshly criticized the proposal by the governor as one that is dangerous and for which DeSantis should be ashamed.
Whether or not the proposal is adopted as a whole remains to be seen. Conservatives throughout the state, however, maintain high hopes that at least some elements, such as funding local law enforcement, will move forward into law.