This Bill passed by the Florida Senate just this last week simply does this:
…it creates an exception to the conceal carry law and allows a person to carry a firearm concealed without a permit while evacuating pursuant to a mandatory evacuation order during a state of emergency declared by the Governor. Of course the Bill does require you to be in the “act of evacuating” meaning the “immediate and urgent movement of a person away from the evacuation zone within 48 hours after a mandatory evacuation is ordered.”
Sounds, ahh, complex. Sounds like a lot of legislative mucking around. Yes, the expansion of rights is good, but… .
The stated necessity for the legislation was that Florida law prohibited people from taking their firearms with them in the case of an emergency declaration and mandatory evacuation order, thus forcing Floridians to leave their guns behind. Huh?
Getting out of Dodge before this bill passed: If you have a concealed permit, it did not matter – stash the heater(s) in the car, on your person, wherever, and you’re good to go – so long as it’s not out in the open. Likewise – without a permit, securely encase the firearm in a case or box, zippered bag or, perhaps even a holster in the glovebox or in the trunk. Right? Right.
Getting out of Dodge after this Bill passed, assuming it may be signed into law…same thing.
A few weeks ago, a deputy and a judge and I were standing around – just standing, not working of course – and the topic of this pending bill came up. Great debate ensued – it was 2 against 1 with the Judge and I opining that we saw little use for the bill – the law as it was, did not keep you from transporting firearms, permit or not. So long as, as above… .
The Deputy insisted otherwise – oh no he said, if there’s a declared disaster, everybody has to leave their guns behind. He meant well. He was friendly about it. But I was surprised. His position is definitely not the case. And part of the point of this post. Anyway… .
Also, even without a permit, a concealed carry permit, you can have the firearm in your car, so long as its “securely encased”. Check. Unless you have a concealed carry permit.
So what was the debate? Not sure. Anyway, relevant Statutes are as follows:
FS 790.25 (3) Lawful Uses. …it is lawful for the following personals to own, possess and lawfully use firearms and other weapons….
(l) A person traveling by private conveyance when the weapon is securely encased or in a public conveyance when the weapon is securely encased and not in the person’s manual possession;
Definitions of securely encased….. .
FS 790.001(17) “Securely encased” means in a glove compartment, whether or not locked; snapped in a holster; in a gun case, whether or not locked; in a zippered gun case; or in a closed box or container which requires a lid or cover to be opened for access.
FS 790.25(5) Possession in a Private Conveyance. …it is lawful to possess a concealed firearm within the interior of a private conveyance, without a license, if the firearm …is securely encased or is otherwise not readily accessible for immediate use.
So, even without a concealed carry permit, you just transport your firearms, emergency or not.
Specifically, no Florida law allows the seizure or taking of firearms so long as lawfully possessed, unless you are engaged in some criminal act, meaning, so long as you’re transporting your weapons securely encased, you’re good to do. Florida law does not allow the confiscation of firearms regardless of any emergency declaration. It did not before, and does not now.
But the greater point – law enforcement does not always get it right, the law that is.
Florida’s firearms statute, in all its glory.
*Whew!* That was hard. And on a weekend too… .