Over the last few years, I've been involved in multiple
discussions regarding EMS providers carrying firearms in the performance of
their duties. Many of my friends often assume that I'd take the pro-gun side,
but my answer is far more complex.
|Credit to Kip Teitsort of DT4EMS|
In the last week, this has risen to prominence in many EMS
circles, with several good friends doing podcasts on it.
For those that don't know, in addition to being a paramedic,
I'm a state-licensed Agent under PA's Lethal Weapons Act 235. In short, I've
got a PA Armed Security Guard certification. I've carried a firearm for
employment, and had additional defensive tactics training. I occasionally work
in a gun store, I often carry a concealed firearm for self-defense, I've long
been involved in firearms-centric state-level political activism, and I'm a
NRA-credentialed instructor and life member. In short, compared with many, I
know a LOT about firearms.
Since I'm so pro-gun, folks assume I'm a proponent of EMS
being allowed to carry firearms. My response? Not so fast!
First, let me say... I have NO reservations about on-duty
commissioned Law Enforcement Officers providing EMS or working on ambulances.
They complete significant defensive tactics and firearms training, and have a
duty belt full of tools to de-escalate situations if needed. I've been working
with folks like this all summer.
Secondly – I have a moderately strong understanding of
various firearms-related laws, because if I screw up, I could go to jail, and
lose my rights to own guns ever again. That said, I am not a lawyer. Nothing I
write should be construed as legal advice in any way/shape/form.
Thirdly – I will try to be general, but some of my answers
will be Pennsylvania specific, because that's the area I know best.
If EMS is going to carry, there are a few questions that
must be addressed, and over the next week, I will expand on these questions:
What are the current laws pertaining to EMS carrying
Who will carry firearms?
How will they be carried?
Why is EMS carrying firearms?
What are the risks of EMS carrying firearms?
Where can EMS carry firearms?
What qualifications/training are required?
Who is going to certify those qualifications are met?
How will firearms carry change how EMS is perceived?
Who is going to be liable for EMS providers USING firearms