Florida House Passes Bill To Carry Guns Without Permit During Natural Disaster

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

The Florida House of Representatives passed a bill to allow citizens to arm themselves without a gun permit in the event of a natural disaster.

Anyone with no criminal record would be able to carry a gun without a permit during a crisis situation or evacuation procedures for a natural disaster, like a hurricane or wildfire, according to a bill passed Friday by the House.

The House voted 80-36, sending the bill to the state Senate. The Senate is preparing to put the measure to a vote and get the bill on Gov. Rick Scott’s desk by the end of the month.

The National Rifle Association backed the bill, but law-enforcement lobbyists and the Florida Sheriffs Association are against the measure.

"We don't want to kill the bill; we want to clarify it," said Duval County Sheriff John Rutherford.

Rutherford says the bill doesn’t clearly state what constitutes an evacuation.

"Does it mean when you're moving out, when you check into your hotel?" he asked.

Rep. Victor Torres, D-Orlando, warned that arming people in high-stress situations is dangerous.

"They will face a different reality," Torres said. "You are talking about introducing concealed firearms into an environment that is already teeming with tension. I hope that tragedy will not be a byproduct of our decision here today."

The measure comes as climatologists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies noted the global average temperature for March 2014 is the fourth warmest since record-keeping began in 1880.

Warmer water means stronger storms. The temperature of water is highly influential on the speed, size, and intensity of a hurricane. Warm temperatures heat up the surface of the ocean, increasing evaporation and giving a hurricane the water vapor it feeds on.

Sources: Reuters, Discovery, ThinkProgress