Citizens Permitted to Carry Concealed Firearms During Mandatory Evacuations
REGIONAL – As weather experts try to pinpoint where Hurricane Irma will make landfall in the U.S., thousands are already under a mandatory evacuation in several south Florida communities. When a major disaster strikes, helpless residents leave homes and property behind for would-be criminals to take advantage of their misfortune. But thanks to recent legislation passed by Florida Lawmakers, anyone who can legally possess a firearm can now carry concealed without a permit for up to 48-hours after a mandatory evacuation is ordered.
Under Florida Statute, Chapter 870, unlicensed carrying of concealed weapons during an emergency is permitted while in the act of evacuating during a mandatory evacuation order. Although the window of legal concealed carry is 48-hours, the Governor can extend that time frame at his discretion. It should be noted that the Governor has the power to ban the sale of firearms and ammunition in certain situations.
There are already mandatory evacuations in Miami-Dade, Monroe, and parts of Pinellas County. Voluntary evacuations are underway in Broward, Collier, and Manatee Counties. Additional evacuations are imminent as the storm approaches the Florida coastline.
Weather experts suggest that Hurricane Irma will skirt the east coast of Florida after making landfall, somewhere near Miami. Residents in Hernando, Citrus, and Pasco Counties could begin to feel the effects of Irma by Saturday and could experience tropical storm force winds by Sunday.
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