Gov. DeSantis signs bill creating a right to ‘stand your ground’ against bears

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a bill into law creating a right for Floridians to bear arms against bears.

The legislation establishing the right to “stand your ground” against bears had been awaiting the Governor’s signature since June 7th.


The legislation gives Floridians the right to kill a bear if they believe it poses a risk to themselves or others - including pets.

A bear hunting season hasn’t been authorized in Florida since 2015, but Katrina Shadix with Bear Warriors United said she fears the new law will make it open season year-round.

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“We’re basing the death of a species on feelings. Which is wrong. And like I said, there are no facts. If we go by science and facts, no one has ever been killed by a Florida Black Bear,” said Shadix.

State Representative Dean Black (R-Yulee) co-sponsored the bill during the legislative session.

“First and foremost, we’re trying to keep Floridians at the top of the food chain. We’ve had instances where Black Bears have attacked people,” Black said.

He argued there are protections in the law to prevent poaching.

Immunity will only be granted if a bear kill is reported to FWC within 24 hours, and Floridians are prohibited from keeping any parts of the bear.

“We have stand your ground laws for human beings. This isn’t that hard. If a bear attacks you, you should have a right to defend yourself,” Black said.

But Shadix argued the protections don’t go far enough.

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“This is going to decimate the Florida bear population. And top of that, the kicker, that they don’t have to call and report they shot a bear for 24 hours. That gives everybody time to get rid of the evidence,” Shadix said.

Shadix told Action News Jax that her team is already prepared to file a lawsuit challenging the “stand your ground” against bears law.

The new law officially takes effect July 1.

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