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Florida National Guard Stalls Proposal to Let Residents Carry Unlicensed Weapons During Emergencies

| March 19, 2014

The National Guard isn't eager to contend with armed individuals, without permits, during emergencies.

The National Guard isn’t eager to contend with armed individuals, without permits, during emergencies.

Concerns expressed by the Florida National Guard stalled a Senate proposal that would allow people without concealed-weapons licenses to carry concealed firearms when forced outside in times of emergency.

But Sen. Jeff Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican and sponsor of the bill (SB 296), said Wednesday he intends to revive the proposal after he has time to discuss it with the National Guard.

“Certainly there are some legitimate concerns that are still out there,” Brandes said.

Brandes’ proposal would create an exemption to a state concealed-carry law by allowing individuals who have not qualified for the licenses to carry weapons off their property when ordered to move due to a governor-declared state of emergency, such as a hurricane or wildfire.

Capt. Terrence Gorman, general counsel for the Florida Department of Military Affairs, said a balance is needed between personal safety and public safety, adding that a potentially “tricky” situation can be created when people who have not taken the required weapons training are carrying firearms during stress-filled periods.


“When people aren’t thinking clearly … they probably shouldn’t have a weapon shoved in the back of their pants,” Gorman said, “especially when you’re talking about thousands of people who need to be evacuated from an area.”

Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker, said the intent of the measure is to protect people who may not know the law when forced to flee their homes.

But Sen. Charlie Dean, an Inverness Republican who served as Citrus County sheriff, said he would oppose the measure.

“I think this violates the threshold of the situation of an emergency as opposed to conflict of interest about whether you have a right to carry,” Dean said. “I think the law enforcement has a duty and responsibility, and I don’t see that as an abuse.”

Dean was part of a 5-2 vote in favor of the bill when it appeared March 3 before the Criminal Justice Committee. The measure was on the agenda Wednesday of the Military and Veterans Affairs, Space, and Domestic Security Committee before action was postponed.

However, Marion Hammer, lobbyist for the National Rifle Association and Unified Sportsmen of Florida, said law enforcement and the military won’t always be there “when things are crazy” and people need to protect themselves and family members.

“It really bothers me to hear folks who generally we think about being in a position of needing to protect us, when we know they can’t, but they would object to us having the ability to protect ourselves,” Hammer said.

She added, “In the state of emergency, and with a hurricane coming and during an evacuation, if you leave your guns behind there is a good chance they won’t be there when you get back; either destroyed in the hurricane or stolen by looters.”

The House companion (HB 209) by Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, R-Fort Myers, has been backed by the Criminal Justice and Economic Development and Tourism subcommittees and awaits an appearance before the Judiciary Committee.

–News Service of Florida

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16 Responses for “Florida National Guard Stalls Proposal to Let Residents Carry Unlicensed Weapons During Emergencies”

  1. Jon Hardison says:

    Having a gun does NOT mean you have the “ability to protect yourself”. For most it simply means they have the ability to accidentally injure themselves or someone else. I’ll say it again: If we were all educated in the handling of firearms AND emergency situations I’d have a little less of a problem with it, but just a little.

    In a true emergency you can’t control what’s happening. Worse still, you can’t control what people “think” is happening. This is easily the least responsible thing I’ve ever heard. It can’t pass.

    We need a new NRA ( National Reason Association ) cuz these idiots have clearly lost their collective minds.

  2. Palm Coaster says:

    Those in FL are not required to register their guns as it is. People are going to do what they have to do in a time of need.

  3. mario says:

    All weapons should be registered. All firearm purchases should only be allowed after criminal & health background checks. All AR,AK and similar military style weapons should be banned. Any firearm carried on a person should only be allowed after criminal and health background checks, combined with a federally sponsored training and carry licensure course. The FL State carry courses are a joke. The NRA should be banned from making any political contributions and tossed out of FL. Stand Your Ground laws should be overturned.

    And no, I don’t want to be sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the I95 with everyone around me packing an arsenal of firearms, for which no training had been provided or licensing obtained, during the most stressful of situations imaginable.

    Keep your firearms and ammunition securely locked in a CA approved heavy-duty steel gun safe. I would recommend Stack-On safes. If it’s properly secured to the concrete floor, it will be there when you get back.

    Did I miss anything?

    • I/M/O says:

      Yes you missed the U.S. Constitution and the Heller decision of the Supreme Court.

    • I/M/O says:

      “All weapons should be registered” By who?

      ” All firearm purchases should only be allowed after criminal & health background checks.” Already the law in Florida when purchasing a firearm at a Gun Store.

      “All AR,AK and similar military style weapons should be banned.” Fully automatic weapons are already banned in this nation under federal laws.

      “The NRA should be banned from making any political contributions.” That violates federal law.

      “Keep your firearms and ammunition securely locked in a CA approved heavy-duty steel gun safe.” Why would I want to do that?

    • Really? says:

      First of all, why are you promoting Stack-On safes? Any quality safe is recommended. Secondly you don’t need a permit to transport weapons in a vehicle. Thirdly, weapons don’t need to be registered, criminals don’t. Anytime you’ve been sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on I-95, me and everyone else around you already had our weapon(s) with us, did you get shot then? Lastly when there is a world without law situation (the police or national guard isn’t going to be everywhere) you are going to wish you had an AR type weapon to defend your family. Nobody is going to take my food, my water or my weapons!

  4. Flatsflyer says:

    There is no need to create a “Loophole”, if forced to leave you can legally transport weapons in your vehicle, there is no complelling reason to have them on your person. If you want to take them with you, lock them in the trunk of your car if you do not have a CWP. These idiots politicans need to be run out of the Country, not just the State. Maybe we would be better off cleaning the gene pool because these asshole also have the potential to breed.

  5. Not Leaving says:

    Either PASS the Law or very few citizens will be LEAVING their homes for emergencies. I’m going NO WHERE without protection from the insanity out there. Police and National Guard are not going to be standing next to me everywhere I have to go while traveling out of my city to god knows where to find a place to rest.

  6. Obama 2014 says:

    People watch the Walking Dead too much…

    And again our laws are being written by a lobbyist and not the men and women we voted to do the job. More Obama, Clinton and Kerry are going to take your guns BS.

    I highly doubt that people with a lot of firearms are going to be able to take them all if a major Hurricane or Fire is coming so they will just stay home and stand their ground. All we need is some nut killing people because they have stood on line too long for gas or stuck in traffic because everyone is heading north.

    The example is also crazy because you can go on vacation for a week and leave your home unattended and it can catch fire, a plane can crash into it or someone can loot it and your guns will be gone. Do these people pack all their guns up when they go to Disney for the week or work a 12 hour day ?

    I have a feeling Capt. Terrence Gorman might have a better understanding then a Lobbist and the NRA. I am sure he has seen the actual horrors of war and not what Darrell Dixon does on Sunday nights with Rick and Carl.

    • Outsider says:

      Rampant, widespread looting is generally limited to when goons get a sense they can run amok. This is often associated with major disasters which involve widespread destruction and an overwhelmed law enforcement apparatus. Additionally, there is the potential that the structure that prevents access to gun safes will be compromised, making them more susceptible to theft. This is not the case when a family takes a trip to Disney Land, therefore it is not necessary to take all guns with you. In a nutshell, your analogy doesn’t hold water.

  7. RHWeir says:

    This one is so easy. The answer is no. With all the confusion that the Guard and the police would have to deal with, the last thing they need is a bunch of crazed citizens packing heat.

    • Really? says:

      Would you please post the following sign in your front yard:

      “I love peace and have no weapon(s) to defend myself. Please knock before you enter my home to cause my family harm and take everything. Thank you”

      Better get with your neighbors to see whose home you can run to.

  8. ryan says:

    You cannot carry a firearm while walking around without a C&C permit anytime. If you cannot leave because you have nowhere else to go, then you have a right to use lethal force against violent intruders and looters without the bad guys being falsely portrayed as victims. There is nothing wrong after a disaster with patrolling your own property while armed, but most firearm owners are reasonable people that I have met.

  9. I/M/O says:

    How soon people forget the robberies, rapes and murders that occurred in the New Orleans Super Dome when residents were advised by government officials to seek shelter from Hurricane Katrina.

    It seems the government officials of New Orleans forgot to provide any security.

  10. A.S.F. says:

    I would feel sorry for all the fools that think having multiple weapons makes them invulnerable to the vagaries of fate and all the dangers of the world–if owning those multiple weapons didn’t contribute to making the world around all of us even more unsafe.

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