'You loot, we shoot.' Florida governor doubles down on right for people to protect their property

STEINHATCHIE, FL – Florida’s senior elected official and 2024 Presidential candidate, Ron DeSantis, held a press conference to discuss the damage done to his state by Hurricane Idalia Wednesday morning. The hurricane made landfall around 7:35 am in the state’s Big Bend region of the Gulf of Mexico.

While discussing the damage and what was being done to help immediately following, Governor DeSantis took the time to issue a warning to potential looters and other bad actors.

"We are not going to tolerate any looting in the aftermath of a natural disaster" he said. "I mean, it’s just ridiculous that you would try to do something like that on the heels of a Category 4 hurricane hitting this community.”

Editor's note: Hurricane Idalia topped out at a Category 3 before hitting the Florida coast.

The comments were made after reports of individuals attempting to loot in the small town of 537 people, as reported by the New York Post.

“People have a right to defend their property — this part of Florida, you got a lot of advocates and proponents of the Second Amendment, and I’ve seen signs in different people’s yards in the past after these disasters, and I would say it’s probably here – ‘You loot, we shoot.'.

You never know what’s behind that door if you go break into somebody’s house and you’re trying to loot, these are people that are going to be able to defend themselves and their families,” Governor DeSantis told reporters.

“We are going to hold you accountable from a law enforcement perspective at a minimum, and it could even be worse than that depending on what’s behind that door.”

DeSantis made similar comments last year after Hurricane Ian, a category 4 storm, hit Florida. Arrests were made in multiple areas of the Sunshine state.

Reports indicate that dozens were arrested for looting in Lee County alone, including three individuals in the country illegally.

The governor took a break from the campaign trail, where he is seeking the Republican nomination to attempt unseating Joe Biden from the White House.

Speaking to the fact that somethings are more important than politics, DeSantis had an answer when asked how he leave the trail to be in Florida for this storm.

“You do what you need to do," he said. "So, that’s what we’re doing. It’s going to be no different than what we did during Hurricane Ian. I’m hoping that this storm is not as catastrophic as Hurricane Ian was, but we’re gonna do what we need to do because it’s just something that’s important.”

In the midst of Ian, DeSantis was campaigning for his second term as governor. He defeated challenger Charlie Crist just a few weeks following that storm.

Not everyone was a fan of the governor’s statement on looters, saying that his comment was tone deaf given the shooting at a Dollar General store in nearby Jacksonville. In that shooting, a white man is alleged to have gunned down three black Americans because of the color of their skin and were not looting.

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