Florida Voters: Vote No on Amendment 10 on November 6

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When political emotions run high, there is a higher probability of civil rights abuses, especially by people with political or administrative power. This is the danger of a provision in Amendment 10–the so-called “Protection Amendment–which calls for a constitutional amendment that would, in part, mandate the establishment of an Office of Domestic Security and Counterterrorism Office within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

This is a dangerous and unnecessary addition to Amendment 10 that should raise a red flag among minority groups, immigrants, and others concerned about civil liberties.

The reason: The Florida Sheriff’s Association, a sponsor of Amendment 10, has already endorsed Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis, an ardent Trump supporter who favors building a wall along the border with Mexico and other Trump initiatives that impinge on civil liberties. At a recent (October 10) rally in Orlando to a national sheriff’s association, Trump saidWe strongly oppose efforts from politicians who try to shackle local law enforcement.”  Amendment 10 makes it easier for law enforcement to be unshackled.

               A dangerous trend

While Florida has been the site of two major mass shooting, both were done by white males who were U.S. residents. None were committed by non-resident terrorists.  This makes the need for a Florida state office of counterterrorism expensive and unwarranted and it will only result in a further militarization of local police, complete with the most advanced military-grade weapons and surveillance hardware that also carries a high potential for abuse. This is a dangerous development.  

A recent New York Times article by Matt Apuzzo reported that in the Obama era, “police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.”

 People concerned about the over-reach of Amendment 10 should send a message to the Amendment’s backers and the Florida Sheriff’s Association: Endorsing a law-and-order Republican candidate, while also promoting the creation of a state counter-terrorism office, is a dangerous political combination.

Vote “No” on Amendment 10.

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