FL Governor Rick Scott Signs “Emergency Evacuation Bill” into Law

Rick Scott; Photo Credit Meredyth Hope Hall
Rick Scott; Photo Credit Meredyth Hope Hall
Florida Carry
Florida Carry, Inc.

Tallahassee, FL -(Ammoland.com)- Persons evacuating from a designated mandatory evacuation zone can lawfully carry firearms without license for up to 48 hours while in the process of evacuating.

Concealed Carry Licensees can't be treated like criminals for carrying concealed. Today, Governor Rick Scott signed SB 290 into law.

This bill, sponsored by Sen. Brandes in the Senate and Rep. Fitzenhagen in the House and supported by hard work from Florida Carry and the National Rifle Association, is important to gun owners statewide for two critical reasons:

1) The new law provides an exception for those in the process of fleeing a designated mandatory evacuation area.

The exception is for a maximum 48 hours, which may be extended by the Governor, and provides that those affected may lawfully carry a concealed weapon or firearm on or about their person. The exception applies only to “the immediate and urgent movement of a person away from the evacuation zone within 48 hours after a mandatory evacuation is ordered”. This will allow lawful gun owners to bring their guns with them during an emergency rather than being forced to leave them behind to fall in to the hands of looters or be destroyed in a disaster.

2) The legislation also corrected the structure of Florida Statute 790.01, the law that prohibits concealed carry.

In 2013 the Florida Supreme Court ruled that carrying a firearm or weapon, even with a license, is a crime to which the licensed person only has an “affirmative defense”. This was because lack of licensure was not an element of the crime, merely an exception.

Florida's legislative scheme causes us to hold that (concealed carry) licensure is an affirmative defense to a charged crime of carrying a concealed weapon, as codified at section 790.01, Florida Statutes (2013), and the lack of a license is not an element of the crime. This conclusion is based upon a clear reading of section 790.01 and consideration of its structure, the chapter of the Florida Statutes that governs firearms and other weapons, and the legal precedent on this issue.

Mackey v. State, 124 So. 3d 176, 181 (Fla. 2013)

The result was that Florida's law abiding concealed carry licensees could be treated like criminals, and even be arrested, for exercising their right to bear arms.

The new law also corrects this problem by now clearly stating that it only prohibits people who are not licensed from carrying concealed weapons or firearms.

790.01 Unlicensed carrying of concealed weapons or concealed firearms.- 

(1) Except as provided in subsection (3), a person who is not licensed under s. 790.06 and who carries a concealed weapon or electric weapon or device on or about his or her person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(2) Except as provided in subsection (3), a person who is not licensed under s. 790.06 and who carries a concealed firearm on or about his or her person commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

We offered this simple change to the law because it will help to ensure that people who hold Concealed Carry Licenses are not treated like common criminals.

The new law is effective immediately.

About Florida Carry, Inc.

Florida Carry, Inc. is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots organization dedicated to advancing the fundamental rights of all Floridians to keep and bear arms for self-defense as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Sections 2 and 8 of the Florida Constitution. Florida Carry stands to represent our supporters, members, and millions of defensive arms owners of Florida. We are not beholden to any national organization's agenda that may compromise that mission. Florida Carry works tirelessly toward striking down ill-conceived gun and weapons control laws that have been proven to provide safe havens to criminals and be deadly to law-abiding citizens.

For more information, visit www.floridacarry.org.

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    CarlosChris Recent comment authors
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    Carlos
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    Carlos

    THERE IS GOING TO BE AN EVACUATION DUE TO SEA LEVEL RISE, OF COURSE THERE GOING TO WAIT UNTIL LAST MINUTE TO TELL YOU TO EVACUATE,JUST LIKE THERE NOT GONNA TELL YU ABOUT THE X CLASS SOLAE FLARES THAT ARE GOING UP .5 EVERY 2 MONTHS

    Chris
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    Chris

    Why do we need this law at all? Are our Constitutional right suspended at the whims of our governors due to some declared emergency? And they can decide to suspend our rights after a certain period of time? How are we letting things like this happen?