Gun owners in the sunshine state are in the eye of the storm. But with Hurricane Matthew bearing down, they’re also able to bear arms legally without a permit. In 2015, the Florida State Senate passed SB 290, allowing gun owners to carry concealed during a state of emergency, even if they do not have a concealed carry permit.
A person who carries a concealed weapon, or a person who may lawfully possess a firearm and who carries a concealed firearm, on or about his or her person while in the act of evacuating during a mandatory evacuation order issued during a state of emergency declared by the Governor pursuant to chapter 252 or declared by a local authority pursuant to chapter 870. As used in this subsection, the term “in the act of evacuating” means the immediate and urgent movement of a person away from the evacuation zone within 48 hours after a mandatory evacuation is ordered. The 48 hours may be extended by an order issued by the Governor.
Even though Hurricane Matthew has caused a commotion for those living in the southeast, there’s a small beacon of hope. SB 290 is giving evacuees the ability to protect their families and defend themselves during a time of mass hysteria.
Currently, Governor Rick Scott of Florida declared a state of emergency due to the severity of Hurricane Matthew. Winds are expected to surpass 150mph with up to 9 feet of water.
“My goal is to make sure everyone is prepared,” Governor Scott said, urging residents to fill up on gas and other supplies now. “Evacuate, evacuate, evacuate.”
Evacuation orders have affected over 2 million people in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. This is the largest mandatory evacuation since Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast in 2012.
If you have to evacuate, please make sure you’re carrying your firearm. Be safe. Be prepared. Be diligent. Be aware.