By Chris Joseph
A bill that would’ve allowed people to carry concealed guns —even if they do not have concealed weapons permits— during riots or natural disasters was killed in the Florida Legislature last week. Had it passed, SB 296 would have made it legal for anyone to carry a concealed weapon during riots or natural disasters that require immediate evacuation.
The Florida Sheriffs Association helped kill the bill. It passed the House last month by a vote of 80-36, but Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri called it “insane.” So Gualtieri worked with Republican Sen. Jack Latvala to add an amendment that would have limited the exemption for concealed weapons permits to 24 hours as well as remove the exemption once the gun owner reached his destination after evacuating. But this ultimately killed the bill, as the original sponsor Sen. Jeff Brandes, disapproved of the amendment of giving people 24 hours.
“[The amendment] makes it a felony if you’re a minute late after the evacuation,” Brandes said, per the Miami Herald. “It makes the bill anti-Second Amendment. It defeats the whole purpose.” The NRA sent out a legislative alert saying that the Florida Sheriffs Association has declared war on the Second Amendment.