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'Crack Cocaine Bears' no match for Florida's tough new self-defense law [VIDEO]

'Crack Cocaine Bears' no match for Florida's tough new self-defense law [VIDEO]

TAMPA, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis made headlines Friday when he signed HB 87 into law, giving people the legal right to use deadly force against bears in self-defense in specific circumstances. The bill, known as the “cocaine bear bill” on social media, has sparked controversy and support across the state.

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Under the new legislation, individuals can use deadly force against bears when they believe they, their pets or their property are in imminent danger. Notably, the law requires that the bear was not lured with food or other lures, and that the individual did not recklessly put himself in the dangerous situation. Also, if lethal force is used, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission must be notified within 24 hours and has sole authority to remove the bear. Possession, sale or disposal of the bear or any of its parts is considered illegal under the new law.

Dubbed the “cocaine bear bill” after its sponsor's claim that Floridians have the right to defend themselves against “those who are into crack,” the bill caught the attention of Representative Jason Shoaf ( R-Port St. Joe). Shoaf, who sponsored the House version of the bill, passionately reinforced the need for the legislation during his presentation at a committee meeting, stating, “They break down your door and they're in your living room growling and wrecking your house. When you come across one of these crack bears, you should be able to shoot them. Period.”

The bill gained substantial support in the Florida Senate by a vote of 24-12 and in the Florida House by a vote of 83-28. Despite this legislative success, an advocacy group started a petition urging Governor DeSantis to veto the bill. By Friday night, the petition had accumulated nearly 40,000 signatures.

The bill, which will take effect July 1, has sparked heated debate in the state, prompting strong reactions from both proponents and detractors as they weigh the implications of this bold move to protect against bear encounters in florida.

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