Stand Your Ground law is due for some serious amendments if Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' gets his way. The new law, known as the "anti-mob" bill by the governor, will allow citizens to shoot and probably kill looters during protests.
Last year's national protests have a lot to do with this move.
News outlets are considering the push an attempt to prevent "violent and disorderly assemblies." But in the process, the legislation seeks to permit violence against those who interrupt or impair businesses.
According to this law, any burglary that happens within 500 feet of a "violent or disorderly assembly" justifies the use of lethal force.
But There Are Concerns
Legal experts are fearful that the passing of this law could cause serious problems. For instance, overzealous vigilantes could see it as a license to kill.
Denise Georges has dealt with Stand Your Ground cases in the past within the Florida state. The Miami Dade prosecutor thinks the law would be a huge misstep:
It allows vigilantes to justify their actions. It also allows for death to be punishment for a property crime – and that is cruel and unusual punishment. We cannot live in a lawless society where taking life is done so casually and recklessly.
Looters are not the only targets of the proposed legislative change. Disruption and blocking of traffic would also become a third-degree felony.
Again, this poses a serious problem. This turns blockage of traffic into a serious crime.
Consequently, drivers would have the freedom to shoot and injure protesters on the road.
The proposed law does not stop there. It also allows the state to reduce funding for local governments that intend to defund police departments.
All To Impress Trump?
There are those who believe the Republican governor is trying to impress the Trump administration by getting this legislation passed.
Dan Gelber, a former prosecutor and an opponent of the current Stand Your Ground law, is one such person:
It's clear that the Trump beauty pageant is still going on with governors and senators, who all want to be the next Trump. And the governor is clearly a very good contestant.
Typically, cases of this nature in other states are handled differently. Usually, such cases are judged based on the available evidence.
That is why many believe the proposed legislation furthers the interests of vigilantes and criminalizes the right to protest to some extent.
With this kind of law in place, people like Kyle Rittenhouse would probably walk free.
The 17-year-old was charged with murder over a fatal shooting. Allegedly, he shot two protesters during a protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
With the "anti-mob bill" in place, even if Rittenhouse was convicted, it wouldn't be for murder as is currently the case. That would certainly give vigilantes and anyone with the intention of harming protesters a reason to shoot and kill.