By Lee Williams
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday that he wants to create the Florida State Guard, a 200-member volunteer paramilitary force that he would control – not Joe Biden – which would assist the Florida National Guard in state-specific emergencies.
According to a press release, DeSantis wants to spend more than $100 million to beef up the Florida National Guard, and $3.5 million to create the new Florida State Guard.
“The establishment of the Florida State Guard will further support those emergency response efforts in the event of a hurricane, natural disasters and other state emergencies. The $3.5 million to establish the Florida State Guard will enable civilians to be trained in the best emergency response techniques. By establishing the Florida State Guard, Florida will become the 23rd state with a state guard recognized by the federal government,” the press release states.
More than 20 states already have similar state paramilitary forces, many of which were formed as state militias during the 18th Century.
The move comes as tension is brewing between DeSantis and Biden.
During a press conference, DeSantis noted that the Florida State Guard would “not encumbered by the federal government,” and that the unit would give him “the flexibility and the ability needed to respond to events in our state in the most effective way possible.”
Florida, he pointed out, has always been one of the most military-friendly and veteran-friendly states.
“We are proud of our veterans and active-duty military members and proud of what our communities do to support them,” DeSantis said in the press release. “Florida is one of the most veteran friendly states and I think there are very few places that you would rather be on duty than in the state of Florida. As a veteran, I really appreciate what everyone who wears the uniform does in our state and am excited about these proposals – they will go a long way and have a meaningful impact. In Florida, we are going to continue our momentum of supporting our military, supporting our veterans and being good stewards of our military installations.”
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, a Democrat who is running for governor in 2022 and may face DeSantis, tweeted . . .
No Governor should have his own handpicked secret police. https://t.co/BWEPhM5rHa
— Charlie Crist (@CharlieCrist) December 2, 2021
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, another Democrat running to replace DeSantis, tweeted similar concerns.
Can’t believe I have to say this, but Florida doesn’t need a paramilitary force that only answers to @RonDeSantisFL. Millions of Floridians know what it’s like to live under regimes like this — and came to our state to escape them. This must be stopped. https://t.co/JoTgXmKTzc
— Nikki Fried (@NikkiFried) December 2, 2021
In my humble opinion, the Florida State Guard is exactly what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote the Second Amendment.
The only problem I foresee is the unit’s 200-member limit. I predict DeSantis will receive 1,000-times that many applications and letters of interest.
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This story is part of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project and is published here with their permission.