March 5, 2015: SB 290 and HB 493 Still a Bad Idea

The Evacuation gun bill has progressed through House and Senate committees and has picked up endorsement by the Florida Sheriffs’ Association.    The current versions establish time frames and activity (be in the act of evacuation) that previous attempts at this type of legislation did not.

Senator Joseph Abruzzo (D-Boynton Beach) who supports the bill stated that a forced evacuation would cause evacuees to “leave their gun in their home for looters, or anybody else can come in and take them.”  This logic has two errors. 

First: evacuees are not forced to leave their guns in their homes.  They have the same decisions to make every day that they live in Florida.  They can put their guns in secure cases and carry them in their car just as they do any other day of the year to transport them to a gun range or hunting location. 

Second:  Senator Abruzzo’s statement indicates that guns are not secured in the evacuees’ home to begin with.  I am not suggesting that it is possible to prevent theft when a criminal has ample time to:

1) remove the safe;

2) pry open the safe;

3) cut open the safe;

4) torch the safe. 

This threat exists every day, not just during periods of local emergencies. 

Not securing guns on a daily basis from unauthorized users and children is already an offense in Florida.  This bill seeks to reward residents in high risk locations for not preparing or making contingency plans in advance of emergencies.  Essentially this bill gives away a permit to residents who have not planned for armed self-defense before disaster strikes.

Over one Million Florida residents are concerned enough about their right to armed self-defense on a daily basis that they have obtained a State of Florida “Concealed Weapon or Firearms License.”  For anyone who has already taken on the financial burden of owning firearms, the CWFL in Florida does not constitute an excessive financial burden to obtain.  It requires proof of training, (any NRA course will do), and the $112 fee charged by the state to process the application and perform a background check.   For less than the price of a four day Florida Resident Ticket to Disney ($209 + tax), a resident can obtain a CWFL that is valid for 7 years. 

This bill will allow residents who have given little or no prior thought to concealed carry the right to do so.  Persons who have not contemplated or planned for concealed carry will not have appropriate training, equipment and/or accessories to do so effectively.  These bills will extent irresponsible behavior (not planning for an emergency) outside the home and onto the streets during a time of high stress. 

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