Fla. lawmakers move forward on emergency gun bill

Tuesday, state lawmakers pushed through a bill that would allow concealed carry of your firearm during a state of emergency in Fla. The measure would allow people to bring their weapons along during a mandatory evacuation order.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina swept over multiple states claiming hundreds of lives. Hundreds of thousands more were displaced from their homes.

Fast forward to 2014, some in the legislature say during that time, people's firearms were being taken away from them by law enforcement.

"The last thing we want is for that to occur in our great state," said Sen. Jeff Brandes (R - St. Petersburg).

Sen. Jeff Brandes filed the senate version of a concealed carry law that would allow people to tote their weapons if they had to evacuate in a declared state of emergency.

"You need to be able to protect your family and your possessions as you flee," he said.

The bill was taken up in a senate committee Tuesday. During the meeting, Sen. Darren Soto (D - Kissimmee) filed an amendment that says the bill would only apply to when the governor calls a state of emergency, not a local government official.

The amendment passed and so did the bill - with only one no vote.

Opponents of the measure say it has too many holes in it and would cause more mayhem than good.

Derrick Smith was part of a group at the Capitol rallying against Florida's gun laws.

"Everyone that has a gun is not responsible," Smith said.

The bill would exempt people from criminal penalties for carrying a concealed weapon during an evacuation even if they don't have a permit.

"In a state of an emergency, lots of things are happening simultaneously. There's a loss of a sense of security, you don't know where you're going, you don't always know where safety may be, so it's never good to pass these laws in isolation."

"This bill is very clear, it says while you're in the process of fleeing, so not when you turn around to come back, when you're in the process of fleeing."

The senate version of the bill has seen some of a challenge, whereas the house version has mostly passed through the legislature smoothly.


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