Skip to comments.Florida House bill would allow carrying guns without a permit during riots
Posted on 04/09/2014 9:09:14 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
TALLAHASSEE Under a bill backed by the National Rifle Association and other gun groups, riots could be the newest safe haven for those carrying firearms without a permit.
HB 209, which is expected to be voted on Friday by the Florida House, would allow people with clean criminal backgrounds to conceal firearms without a permit during emergencies including riots and civil unrest like the 1996 racial disturbances that rocked St. Petersburg declared by the governor or local officials.
"To allow people to go into a riot while concealing a gun without a permit is the definition of insanity," said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. "The bill is crazy. It's absurd."
Supporters of the bill say it's intended to give gun owners the opportunity to protect their property while they are evacuating from a disaster or crisis, such as hurricanes, floods or worse.
"We tell people to be prepared during hurricane season to take care of yourself for three days," Florida Carry general counsel Eric Friday said earlier this month. "That means food, water, and also the ability to protect yourself because emergency services aren't available."
Those concealing a firearm without a permit can be punished with up to five years in prison for the third-degree felony. Under the proposed legislation, that penalty could be waived during emergencies.
Gualtieri and the Florida Sheriffs Association have been lobbying for weeks to make changes, pitting them against the sponsor of the Senate bill, Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg. That's SB 296.
A key objection is that it's not clear in the legislation when it's okay not to have a permit for the concealed firearm. Both bills say no permit is needed for those "in the act of complying with a mandatory evacuation order during a declared state of emergency."
If someone flees a hurricane and travels several counties over, either to a hotel or relative's house, at what point are they still evacuating? For how long are they able to claim they are evacuating?
On Wednesday, the House sponsor, Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, R-Fort Myers, couldn't provide specifics to the doubters during House debate on the bill.
"I have (the gun) on my body because I'm allowed to do it under this new law, and I get to a (hurricane) shelter," Rep. Elaine Schwartz, D-Hollywood, asked Fitzenhagen. "What happens to the firearm then?"
"The law does not allow you to bring that into a shelter," Fitzenhagen replied. "You would be able to put it somewhere else, in another person's car perhaps, or a container."
The Florida Sheriffs Association thinks the bill is too vague and would lead to false arrests and clashes with police. Brandes and Fitzenhagen say too much specificity would defeat the purpose of the bill.
"If you refine it too much, then you don't make it effective for giving people the opportunity to store their guns safely," she said.
For Gualtieri and the Florida Sheriffs Association, the bills were made considerably worse in late March and early April when they were amended so that local authorities, not just the governor, could declare an emergency.
Under that added provision, riots qualified as emergencies in which residents could conceal guns without permits.
"We were trying to work with them, but they changed the purpose of the bill," Gualtieri said. "Now you don't have to be leaving an area. You could be coming to it, you could be part of the problem, exacerbating it."
On Tuesday, the Senate's Community Affairs Committee agreed, stripping out the local emergency provision that included riots.
But it remains in the House bill, where it will stay, said Fitzenhagen.
"I believe there are scenarios in which local governments should have the authority to call a state of emergency," Fitzenhagen said Wednesday. "I'm not contemplating them calling a state of emergency for riots and then they grab their handguns and go out there into the riot."
But the way the bill is written, it's too confusing for law enforcement officers and gun owners alike, Gualtieri said.
"It would give me pause, as sheriff, in declaring a state of emergency," he said. "If I know cops would have to deal with God knows what, I now have to worry about making a situation worse."
How about this as a solution:
SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.
No one wants to go into a riot situation period. What has happened is that riots have broken out and innocent people have become entrapped in them and been severely injured or killed because they had no means to protect themselves. THAT is the definition of insanity.
Suppose I'm being proactive, packed up and ready... I want to leave before it is mandatory, before routes out are clogged...
Criminal-minded rioters might think twice (although “think” may be a strong word to use here) before rioting if they know their victims are likely to be armed.
Then hopefully they wouldn’t be a victim.
Will Sheriff Bob guarantee my safety if I get caught in a riot in his jurisdiction? I thought not.
Looters will be shot.
This bill will never get passed. They, the gun haters, already hate they Florida citizens have the Stand Your Ground Law. This will just make them flip out like Holder did during the committee meeting today.
“Looters will be shot.”
I posted those same words in my yard sign after Hurricane Wilma, I also added the words:
If you see me or not...
Yes. See me or not, a-ha-ha, surprise mofo. Everyone minds their own business everyone’s fine. It’s real simple.
“SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.”
Yes, and when I think about a having a CCW, I wonder if you are just giving the LEO’s a “heads up” that singles you out every day of your life and may well put you at unnecessary risk of harm by the cops. If you ever need to use a gun to defend yourself, the fact that you don’t have a permit will be the least of your worries, and as you point out, if we really do have a 2A, you shouldn’t have to have one in the first place.
Anyone who can legally own a gun should be able to carry it.
Anyone who is so dangerous they need to be stripped of the means of self defense should be incarcerated.
People take guns with them when evacuating - to think differently is a facade. This bill simply means that they can’t be charged as felons for doing so.
Why just during a riot? Just go constitutional carry like AZ, AK and a few other states. If you can legally own the gun, you can carry it, no permit needed. That’s the way it should be everywhere in the USA.
If you have that much foresight, you will already have your CCW license.
This proposal is coming about due to the inability of those elected to govern; i.e. being unable to control a riot situation. Telling the citizen to carry a gun is an abdication of the right to govern and lapsing back to “self help.” At one time a rioting people would be told to disperse(Reading the Riot Act). If after being told to disperse the mob failed to disperse they would would end up dead or seriously injured. We are in rioting situations because of the inability to govern and the misinterpretation of the “Right To Assemble,” “Free Speech” and other twaddle.
Guilty. I even practice with my defensive weapons regularly. They are not just for show. ;-)