Florida sheriff pledges to deputize law-abiding gun owners if protests escalate

A Florida sheriff said in a Facebook video Tuesday that he would deputize “every lawful gun owner” in the county if protesters there became too violent for law enforcement alone to handle, the Washington Examiner reported.

Darryl Daniels is the Clay County’s first Black sheriff, and he issued a stern warning to those who would subvert law and order in his jurisdiction.

“If we can’t handle you…I’ll exercise the power and authority as the sheriff, and I’ll make special deputies of every lawful gun owner in this county, and I’ll deputize them for this one purpose: to stand in the gap between lawlessness and civility,” Daniels said, according to USA Today. “That’s what we’re sworn to do. And that’s what we’re going to do. You’ve been warned,” he added.

Preserving law and order

Flanked by 18 deputies in uniform, Daniels drove home the point that violence was not going to be tolerated in his jurisdiction, no matter what protesters’ plans might be.

It is not the first social media video Daniels has made to convey his tough stance on crime, USA Today noted, adding that the sheriff is currently running for re-election and also harbors congressional aspirations.

Another sheriff in the Sunshine State predicted that his residents would also not stand for violence from protesters, particularly if their homes and property were put at risk.

“I would tell them, if you value your life, they probably shouldn’t do that in Polk County,” Sheriff Grady Judd said, according to CBS News. Judd went on:

Because the people of Polk County like guns. They have guns. I encourage them to own guns, and they’re going to be in their homes tonight with their guns loaded, and if you try to break into their homes to steal, to set fires, I’m highly recommending they blow you back out of the house with their guns. So, leave the community alone.

Study in contrasts

The attitude of these two Florida sheriffs stands in stark contrast to law enforcement officials elsewhere in the country who have abandoned police stations and stood by and allowed rioters to destroy private and public property alike.

Whether these officers are simply following directives from higher up, or they are sympathetic to the demonstrations is not always clear, but in the end, they are effectively aiding and abetting the alarming erosion of law and order in this country.

Protests continue in cities such as Milwaukee, Wisconsin more than a month after they first began, and with millions still out of work from coronavirus shutdowns, many have sufficient free time to demonstrate in the streets.

In addition to the devastating destruction, vandalism, and theft stemming from these demonstrations, spikes in new coronavirus cases have been noted in areas of the country that saw sizable protests in recent weeks.

These factors taken together make the dangers of unchecked civil unrest all the more urgent and make the stern warnings issued by Daniels and Judd all the more admirable.

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