A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
2nd Amendment - United States Constitution
All of us that work in EMS know that our job comes with it’s fair share of risks. I think most of us would argue that we put ourselves in harms way far more that than the average citizen. But what mechanism do we have in place to protect ourselves? …….anyone?
Every ambulance service I have worked for has strict rules against carrying weapons of any type while on duty. This includes guns, knives, pepper spray, etc. Every time I have heard these policies questioned, it is typically addressed with a general “we are not cops” statement. And they are right. We aren’t cops. We don’t enforce laws and we don’t track down bad guys. But we DO deal with the same people that law enforcement does. We run drug overdoses, assaults, homicides, suicides, etc. We find ourselves in the middle of trouble almost on a daily basis.
So back to my previous question.
What mechanism do we have in place to protect ourselves? Well for starters we have a dispatcher who decides whether or not the scene is safe to enter based off a 30 second phone call. Our next line of defense is a radio to call for help. And lastly we have the ability to run away. Criminals beware!
I’m going to come right out and say that I believe that EMS professionals should be allowed to carry concealed weapons in the name of personal defense. As a citizen the United States Constitution grants me to the right to keep and bear arms. So should my employer be allowed to deny me this right while I’m on duty?
Now I must play devils advocate for a minute. To look at this issue from an employer’s prospective, I can see where they might have issues with their employees carrying and possibly using a weapon. This opens up the doors to legal action and liability in the event that one of their employees acted inappropriately and killed someone. Employers have the right to tell us how to dress, speak, act and even cut our hair. In exchange for following these rules, we get to stay on board and receive a paycheck every 2 weeks. If we don’t like the rules, then we are free to leave at any time.
I guess where I am going with this is that while I believe that I have a right to protect self on and off duty, I don’t think that employers should be told they HAVE to allow their work force to carry weapons. Having said that, I think that liability should not be placed on an employer in the event that an EMT or Paramedic had to exercise their rights and harm someone in the name of defense. When my life is placed in danger to the point where I have to draw my weapon and kill the person who is trying to kill me, I am no longer acting as a Paramedic. I am acting as Sean Eddy. A human being that is trying to do what I can to make sure I make it home to my family. At that point I have taken all responsibility for my own actions AS A PERSON, not as a Paramedic.
Anyone disagree with me? I would love to hear your thoughts.