Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Wednesday warned looters that his state’s residents could gun them down if they catch them invading their properties following the devastating impact of Hurricane Idalia.
“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,’” he said during a press conference in Perry. “You never know what’s behind that door if you go break into somebody’s house.”
“These are people that are going to be able to defend themselves,” he continued.
DeSantis added that many people in this area of the state are supporters of gun rights, noting that trespassers will be held accountable.
“People have a right to defend their property,” he said. “This part of Florida, you got a lot of advocates and proponents of the Second Amendment.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) discourages looters amid Hurricane Idalia, referencing “you loot, we shoot” signs:
“People have a right to defend their property. This part of Florida, you’ve got a lot of advocates ... of the Second Amendment ... You never know what’s behind that door.” pic.twitter.com/UbWt9kuaRs
The 2024 Republican presidential candidate was booed at a vigil for victims of Saturday’s “racially motivated” shooting in Jacksonville, as many blame him for loosening gun restrictions across the state and implementing “anti-woke” policies.
“Look, at the end of the day, the governor has blood on his hands,” Rep. Angie Nixon (D-Fla.) told MSNBC on Sunday.
“He has had an attack, an all-out attack on the Black community with his anti-woke policies, which we know very well was nothing more than a dog whistle to get folks up and riled up in the way in which it just happened yesterday,” Nixon added.
DeSantis also drew fire for calling the shooter a “major-league scumbag” instead of describing him as a racist.
Now, the governor faces a new challenge in his response to the storm as his 2024 campaign has so far suffered setbacks and failed to draw attention.
Florida was one of the states most affected by Idalia as it made landfall there on Wednesday as a Category 3 hurricane. Streets were flooded, cars submerged, and thousands of residents were left without power.
This is not the first time DeSantis has warned pillagers they could be shot. Last year, following the passage of deadly Hurricane Ian, the governor referenced the “You loot, we shoot” signs he saw outside some businesses in Punta Garda, adding that Florida is a “law and order state.”
“I would not want to chance that if I were you, given that we’re a Second Amendment state,” DeSantis said at the time.