The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
Sheriff [Grady] Judd … said there's a difference between a protester and a rioter and rioting will not be accepted….
Judd said there were rumblings on social media that rioters planned to bring violence into the neighborhoods of Polk County.
"I would tell them, if you value your life, they probably shouldn't do that in Polk County. 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," Judd said.
[1.] Polk County is about 60% white, 25% Hispanic, and 15% black. My guess is that the Hispanic and black people of Polk County like guns and have guns about as much as white people (perhaps not precisely as much, but not that far off). Not wise to break into homes in any of the neighborhoods, it seems to me.
[2.] The sheriff's statement is likely more aimed as a threat to the criminals than as advice to law-abiding residents. But legally speaking, it seems to be consistent with Florida law, which allows the use of deadly force in such situations (emphasis added):
A person who is in a dwelling … in which the person has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and use … [d]eadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using … such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony….
A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter a person's dwelling … is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence….
"Forcible felony" [includes] … burglary[ and] arson ….