Great news, gun-loving Floridians! Because of Hurricane Matthew, Florida law dictates that you can legally carry a concealed weapon, even if you don’t have a permit.
The storm has already left widespread death and destruction in its wake, and is currently zeroing in on the Sunshine State. One dubious upside to this grim situation: a major relaxation of gun laws.
As first flagged by the conservative boobs-and-guns site the Daily Caller, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill in May 2015 that allows residents to carry concealed weapons without a permit while the state is under a mandatory evacuation order, as the state is now for Hurricane Matthew. People apparently need to be able to transport their guns in an emergency, or to handle the Purge-like hazards of a newly lawless society, or something.
The summary of SB 290 reads:
An act relating to carrying a concealed weapon or a concealed firearm; amending s. 790.01, F.S.; providing an exemption from criminal penalties for carrying a concealed weapon or a concealed firearm when evacuating pursuant to a mandatory evacuation order during a declared state of emergency; defining the term “in the act of evacuating”; providing an effective date.
The language of the bill also makes clear that the softening of gun law only applies to the first two days after a mandatory evacuation order goes out, although Scott could extend that deadline. Gun-toting residents without permits also must be actively evacuating, which the law defines as “the immediate and urgent movement” away from the evacuation zone.
Scott has also said that despite ordering 1.5 million Floridians to flee their homes to avoid becoming casualties of the massive storm, the state's voter registration won't be extended.
But hey, at least people will be packing heat.