Gov. Ron DeSantis fired a verbal warning shot at potential rioters on Tuesday, sending out a broad advisory that Florida will not tolerate violence and unlawful assembly like seen at the U.S. Capitol.
“If anything is disorderly, we’re going to act very quickly,” DeSantis told reporters at The Villages. “Don’t worry about that.”
The Governor’s warning comes after federal authorities became privy to intelligence indicating that armed protests are planned at all 50 state capitols and the U.S. Capitol in Washington ahead of President-elect Joe Biden‘s Jan. 20 inauguration.
DeSantis stopped short of adding more details about the FBI memo. On Monday, however, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued a statement acknowledging threats to capitols nationwide.
“We are aware of the information regarding possible protests and violence at state capitols,” the state police agency said. “FDLE and Capitol Police continue to monitor the national situation and analyze information relevant to public safety. We regularly collaborate with our federal, state and local partners to discuss and implement security measures that enhance public safety at Florida’s Capitol.”
DeSantis lamented the U.S. Capitol assault and described it as a “real unfortunate thing.” He also credited the U.S. Capitol Police officers on the ground that day before advocating for his anti-rioting proposals.
The measures, SB 484 and HB 1, will be heard in the upcoming 2021 Legislative Session.
“Our legislation is going to pass this Legislative Session, so if you riot, you are going to jail and you’re going to have to spend time in jail,” the GOP Governor and Trump ally said. “You assault law enforcement in a violent assembly, you’re going to definitely go to jail. You burn down someone’s business, you do all this, the penalties are going to be swift and immediate.”
“I think once people see that, well I think they already know Florida means business,” DeSantis continued.
Meanwhile, Florida Senators on Monday received a closed-door security briefing, a customary event that has taken on increased importance amid physical security concerns at state capitols nationwide.
The Florida Senate’s security briefing is a routine meeting held every two years. While the briefing and security details are closed to the public and press, some lawmakers are openly voicing concerns about possible threats to their physical safety.