Hurricane season has arrived, and if the past few years have shown us anything, it’s that you can never be too prepared for what Mother Nature has in store…
With that in mind, we want to make sure that Floridians are prepared for the season. First, all Floridians should be familiar with the state’s hurricane preparation recommendations. These can be found within the State of Florida’s Hurricane Preparedness Guide.
However, in addition to these preparations, Florida gun owners must also know the law if they are forced to evacuate during a state of emergency.
What The Law Says
Florida Law allows a person to carry a concealed weapon or 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 or local authorities. The term “in the act of evacuating” means the “immediate and urgent movement of a person away from the evacuation zone within 48 hours after a mandatory evacuation is ordered.” The 48 hours may be extended by an order issued by the Governor.
It is important to note that the law does not go into effect unless two things have happened:
- The Governor or local authorities issue or declare a State of Emergency; and
- There is a MANDATORY evacuation order issued.
If the above conditions have been met, then a person who is evacuating within 48 hours of the order of evacuation may carry a concealed weapon during evacuation. The 48 hours may be extended by order of the Governor. This applies to anyone with or without a Concealed Weapon and Firearm License (“CWFL”) or recognized out-of-state license/permit to carry concealed, as long as they are not otherwise prohibited.
Carrying A Firearm While Evacuating To A Border State
Many times, people evacuate to a surrounding state. Both Georgia and Alabama recognize Florida’s CWFL. However, the emergency evacuation law is not recognized, and only CWFL holders or other permit holders with reciprocity may lawfully carry concealed in these states, subject to their laws and restrictions.
Both Georgia and Alabama allow those without permits to carry in their vehicles, as long as they are not a person prohibited from carrying by law. Georgia allows the carrying of a loaded handgun in a vehicle occupied by anyone who would qualify for a permit. Alabama only allows non-licensed individuals to carry an unloaded handgun, cased and secured in the trunk or rear storage area. So, if you are headed to Alabama, make sure to properly secure your unloaded firearm before you cross the state line.
Hurricane season is here. Stay safe, be prepared, and listen if told to evacuate. We want all Floridians to be safe and to stay legal during this hurricane season. If you have any questions at all about evacuating with your firearms, or any other firearm-related questions, please give U.S. LawShield a call and ask to be connected to your Independent Program Attorney.
ALERT: Make sure to check all state and local laws and reach out to your Independent Program Attorney as you prepare for emergency situations. Click here for the latest webinar discussion regarding travel restrictions during a pandemic with Sam Malone, featuring Independent Program Attorneys David Katz, James Reeves, Emily Taylor, and Richard Hayes.
The preceding should not be construed as legal advice nor the creation of an attorney-client relationship. This is not an endorsement or solicitation for any service. Your situation may be different, so please contact your attorney regarding your specific circumstances. Because the laws, judges, juries, and prosecutors vary from location to location, similar or even identical facts and circumstances to those described in this presentation may result in significantly different legal outcomes. This presentation is by no means a guarantee or promise of any particular legal outcome, positive, negative, or otherwise.