Saint Petersburg, Florida – A bill has made its way onto the Florida house floor that would allow gun owners in certain situations to carry their weapons even if they do not have a permit.
"For both safety and protecti
on reasons, firearm owners would want to have that ability," said Gary Miller, a concealed weapons permit holder. "That would be something that could be reasonable."
HB 209 would suspend concealed carry gun laws during mandatory evacuations in Florida July 1st, if it became law.
The breakdown means that if a State of Emergency is declared, and gun owners without a permit were forced to leave their homes, then they would not have to leave their weapon at home.
"This is unrealistic," said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri who insist the law isn't clear and, at best, needs to be re-worked to prevent confusion for gun owners. "What I'm afraid is going to happen is we're going to end up in a situation where we're going to have citizens that are going to become felons, and they're going to get arrested for carrying a concealed firearm."
The sheriff says that current laws allow gun owners to secure their weapons in a case if they need to transport it.
Gualtieri points out that a State of Emergency also applies to issues such as civil unrest, the worst time for owners without a permit to carry their weapons.
"Everybody, while complying with this State of Emergency [bill], ...can carry concealed firearms during a riot? That makes no sense to me whatsoever," said the sheriff.