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Courts / Law

Concealed Carry Gun Bill Returns to State Legislature

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A Central Florida lawmaker has reintroduced a bill allowing people to carry concealed weapons during a state of emergency.

State Sen. Jeff Brandes’, R-St. Petersburg, bill grants those who do not have a license to carry a concealed weapon permission to do so during a mandatory evacuation. That evacuation would be part of a declared state of emergency.

Brandes said those fleeing with their firearms may not have time to look up how to fully comply with state laws concerning transporting weapons. And because of that, they may end up violating the law.

“For example, if you bring a cigar box and the cigar box is closed, that could be a compliant way to do it. If you put it in a fanny pack and you have your fanny pack on you, you’re carrying a concealed weapon and you could be charged with a crime,” he said.

Last session’s bill passed the state House, but died in the Senate.

The Florida Sheriffs Association lobbied against that bill. Brandes said the bill didn’t move forward because of an amendment that – among other things – ended the exemption at the county line.

He said the current bill states the exemption continues while a person is in the process of evacuation.

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