As Hurricane Matthew makes its presence known on the Eastern Florida coast, citizens may be able to temporarily carry their concealed firearms without a permit thanks to a new law.
As of Thursday morning, the National Hurricane Center placed the eye of Matthew about 180 miles Southeast of West Palm Beach Florida moving at 14 mph to the Northwest. This storm, which is bringing with it, Category 4 hurricane strength winds of 140 mph is expected to move close to or over the east coast of the Florida peninsula through Friday night.
With more than 1.5 million Floridians in evacuation zones, attention by many gun owners has turned to a law signed last year by Governor Rick Scott to allow law-abiding citizens without concealed carry licenses to bear arms during evacuations as a means to protect themselves during the often chaotic times.
The measure created an exception to Florida’s prior law against concealed carry of a firearm without a permit by allowing adults not otherwise legally prohibited from possessing a firearm to temporarily do so while evacuating. The law allows for a 48-hour window that this would be allowed after the evacuation has been ordered. However, the governor can extend this window, if necessary.
It should be noted, however, that not all public shelters allow firearms in their facilities, which are typically at community centers and schools. So if you are in the path of Matthew and plan on heading to a shelter, regardless of whether or not you are taking advantage of this new law, make certain that you check whether or not your shelter allows your guns within it.
Stay safe out there, everyone.