Under a bill backed by the National Rifle Association and other gun groups, riots could be the newest safe haven for those carrying firearms without a permit.
HB 209, which is expected to be voted on Friday by the Florida House, would allow people with clean criminal backgrounds to conceal firearms without a permit during emergencies — including riots and civil unrest like the 1996 racial disturbances that rocked south St. Petersburg — declared by the governor or local officials.
The Daily Beast provides some opinionated coverage of "Florida's Zombie Apocalypse Gun Bill" here. And Talking Points Memo discusses the bill here. The text of the bill is here. While the unlicensed carrying of firearms is generally prohibited, the bill would change the broad prohibition so that it would not apply to:
(a) A person who carries a concealed weapon, or a person who may lawfully possess a firearm and who carries a concealed firearm, on or about his or her person while in the act of evacuating during a mandatory evacuation order issued during a state of emergency declared by the Governor pursuant to chapter 252 or declared by a local authority pursuant to chapter 870.The bill is not without its critics. From the Herald:
“To allow people to go into a riot while concealing a gun without a permit is the definition of insanity,” said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. “The bill is crazy. It’s absurd.”But as The Daily Beast's title indicates, the drafters of this bill have the long game in mind. Much like the insightful lawmakers who drafted the United States' broad federal criminal laws, Florida's lawmakers have clearly introduced this bill so that people are not deterred from taking up arms in the event of the zombie apocalypse.
While some people may end up getting hurt or killed by misguided gunowners during riots and non-zombie emergencies, in the long run, this bill will end up saving thousands of lives, and possibly the world.