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Mandatory Weather Evacuations And Your Guns

It’s hurricane season. Picture this scenario. You live in a hurricane-prone area with the season running from now until November. There’s a severe hurricane on the horizon, and your state issues a mandatory weather evacuation for your area. If you have some guns that are legally in your possession for home defense, but you don’t have a concealed carry license, what should you do? Can you take your guns with you? When you live in Florida, you can. 

In 2015, then-Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a bill (SB90) into law that allows gun owners to carry their firearm during a mandatory evacuation, either in their car or on their body, without having a permit to do so. This would be allowed during any state-issued order that people have to follow “while in the act of complying.” It only provides a period of 48 hours, but the governor has the right to extend it if the evacuation lasts longer than anticipated — or the damage to the area was so significant that it would take a few weeks for repairs or the power to come back on. 

Living in a Hurricane Zone

Most people in the north or out west don’t think about hurricane season the way that people obviously do in the southeastern states like Florida, Georgia, Alabama, or Louisiana. 

Louisiana passed a similar law that allows a person without a carry permit to take their weapon during a mandatory evacuation. They only passed it in 2020 as part of the Louisiana Homeland Security and Emergency Assistance and Disaster Act. This wasn’t the case during Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. When the police went to people’s homes making them evacuate, they also took their firearms. Tsk-tsk. 

Evacuating Fast With Your Firearms

If you live in a hurricane-prone area, it’s important that you have a plan for your firearms if you need to evacuate fast. The best way to take your guns with you, especially if you are going to be driving away from the evacuation zone with your own car, is in a range bag. This can be a tactical range bag that’s a duffle or backpack, whichever style you are more comfortable with. 

Buy a bag that will fit several handguns, extra ammo, and other gear you may need. It’s the best way to keep your guns out of harm’s way if catastrophic conditions happen around your home, like flooding from a storm surge or wind damage knocking debris or trees. 

During an emergency evacuation, it’s vital that you get out with your family as fast as possible. Having a bag like this on hand already packed up is the best and luckily legal way, in some states, to take your firearms out with you. Even if you don’t live in Florida or Louisiana, check with the laws in your own state so you know what they are during any emergency evacuation regarding the transportation of your firearms. 


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One Response

  1. This article makes sense only in the context of either saving ‘some’ firearms or simply bringing the few one has with them during the evacuation.

    On the other hand, for those that have firearms in the three digit figures, it does nothing to help them. For that, some kind
    of extreme plan is called for and what exactly would that mean I have no answers.

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