In criminal cases, this writer has said, “firearm equals felony”. In violations of 790.01, Florida’s law that criminalizes the carrying of concealed firearms or weapons, the unlicensed carrying on the person of a weapon is a misdemeanor while unlicensed carrying on the person of a firearm is a felony.
In recent years there has been a push in the law to make exceptions for special circumstances such as an impending hurricane. Today, when the Governor declares a State of Emergency, plus orders an evacuation, 790.01 provides an exception to the felony of carrying a concealed firearm. So long as a person may otherwise lawfully possess a firearm the law allows for an evacuee to carry “a concealed firearm, on or about their person while in the act of evacuating during a mandatory evacuation order issued during a state of emergency declared by the Governor….”. The phrase “in the act of evacuating means the immediate, urgent movement of a person away from the evacuation zone within 48 hours after a mandatory evacuation is ordered.” §790.01(3)(a).
While some may wish that the law contained a provision for returning from the evacuation, there is no such exception. However, there are other general exceptions to carrying a concealed firearm that may allow a person to return with their firearms after evacuating. For example, “a person engaged in fishing, camping, or lawful hunting or going to or returning from a fishing, camping, or lawful hunting expedition…” is excused from the felony. §790.25(3)h). In addition, any “person traveling by private conveyance when the weapon is securely encased . . . and not in the person’s manual possession…” is also exempted. §790.25(3)(l). “Securely encased means in a glove compartment, whether or not locked; snapped in a holster; in a gun case, whether or not locked; in a zippered gun case; or in a closed box or container which requires a lid or cover to be opened for access. §790.001(17).
Failure to adhere to a proper method of carrying a weapon or firearm can result in facing criminal charges. Any person accused should not face the government alone. To begin building strategies for a defense please click, call or fill out the form.