Proposed bill allows concealed carry in state of emergency

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- In a declared state of emergency with an evacuation, what would you grab from your home? Probably your wallet, purse and other valuable. Some state lawmakers hope to make it legal to bring your firearms with you.

On Thursday, state representatives argued House Bill 209, which allows people to carry a concealed weapon during an evacuation in a declared state of emergency.

The bill's sponsor said during Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, officers would confiscate firearms from people during that disaster.

She said she hopes it never happens here in Florida. Former National Rifle Association President Marion Hammer spoke in favor of the measure.

"This bill is about law-abiding people being able to protect themselves and their families, during a state of emergency. It is not about the convenience of law enforcement," Hammer said.

Rep. Kionne McGhee of Miami was the only lawmaker to vote no on it.

"The language of the bill is very vague. What we're seeing is an attempt to fix a problem that doesn't exist," he said.

The bill passed favorably with a vote of 17 to 1. It now heads to the House floor.


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