The Florida House is scheduled to vote Friday on a bill that allows the public to carry concealed firearms while evacuating their home during an emergency.
Rep. Heather Dawes Fitzenhagen, R-Fort Myers, explained to the chamber Wednesday that her bill (HB 209) would extend carry-and-conceal privileges to those fleeing during a mandatory evacuation declared by the governor or local officials. Individuals, otherwise, must be in compliance with all laws, including having the right to be in possession of a firearm.
“My bill does make it clear that felons are not allowed to carry a firearm,” Fitzenhagen said. “However, this bill is for people who are lawfully allowed to possess a firearm in their home to be able to take that firearm with them when they are evacuating in an emergency.”
Some opponents were concerned the legislation would allow someone to bring firearms into to an emergency shelter, which is often a school.
Fitzenhagen said that is not true because existing laws would continue to take precedent and a person could not bring it anywhere they are not lawfully allowed to.
The Senate version (SB 296) has to clear one more committee before being heard on the floor.