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The States Trying to Pass Laws Protecting Drivers Who Hit Protesters

After the Charlottesville attack, Republican lawmakers are seeking to distance their efforts to pass driver immunity legislation.
California Highway Patrol officer stop the flow of traffic on the 110 freeway as protesters unsuccessfully attempted to rush the freeway in a November 11, 2016, rally to oppose the election of President Donald Trump.
California Highway Patrol officer stop the flow of traffic on the 110 freeway as protesters unsuccessfully attempted to rush the freeway in a November 11, 2016, rally to oppose the election of President Donald Trump.Kevork Djansezian/Reuters

Florida State Senator George Gainer wants to make one thing clear: His bill was never a license to assault demonstrators. While the bill he sponsored in February, S.B. 1096, would have granted civil immunity to drivers who strike protesters with their vehicles, the fatal assault in Charlottesville on Saturday is not what he had in mind.

“It had nothing to do with what was going on in Virginia,” Gainer says. “Our bill would not have prevented that, and it certainly would not have condoned it.”