The debate on whether or not EMS personnel should be allowed to carry firearms is once again making it’s rounds. I posted an article “Should EMS be Allowed to Carry Weapons?” back in 2010 and to this day, it still receives more visits and comments than any other article on my entire blog. It’s a heated issue and there are valid points to both sides of the argument.
Several EMS bloggers have weighed in on the subject recently and their opinions vary from strong support to opposition. Kelly Grayson made reference to recent activity in Virginia where legislators are considering removing a long-standing ban on EMS personnel carrying firearms:
Allow me to make a prediction on what will happen if Virginia ambulance crews start to carry weapons…….
……No blood in the streets, no Wild West-style shootouts (largely a Hollywood fiction in which most anti-gun types fervently believe), no EMT’s bustin’ caps in unruly patients, no unruly patients disarming those ignorant, untrained EMT’s and shooting them with their own weapons, no EMT’s barging into unsafe scenes bolstered with a misplaced sense of invulnerability because they’re packing heat.
Why is concealed carry preferable to open carry?
Intuitively I think a visible firearm is a better deterrent, easier to access, and quicker to access than a concealed weapon. What am I missing? Why aren’t we arguing and advocating for open carry in the EMS workplace?
Which patient would you have shot?
Many apparatus bay and training room conversations start with “If only I would have had … I could have … ”
The majority of reader comments advocated for concealed as opposed to open carry. In the EMS setting, I have to agree. Open carry adds another safety element as weapon retention becomes a high priority. I’m a big advocate of the element of surprise. I don’t want to be viewed as an enforcement figure, and I’m not trying to scare anyone off. I just want to be able to defend myself, should that need ever arise. Chances are, I’ll never need it, but I would rather have it and never use it than need it and not have it.
My biggest issue with the whole thing is the fact that I’m expected to check my god-given rights at the time clock. Any time I can legally carry, I do. Like I said before, I’ll probably never need it, but like car and health insurance, it’s certainly nice to have when I do. I’m not looking to enter dangerous scenes, engage in physical confrontations or take on any other additional risks. I just want to be able to carry a means to defend myself just like I do when I’m off duty.
Before writing this article, I asked my friends on Twitter and Facebook for their opinions and I was very surprised at the response I got. Many of my EMS friends – most of which are 2nd Amendment supporters – actually voiced extreme opposition to the idea of EMS personnel carrying firearms. I was completely taken by surprise to say the least. The common theme was that most of our coworkers can’t or shouldn’t be trusted with the responsibility of concealed carry. To be honest, I was shocked to see how little confidence most of us have in our peers. This of course led me to ask if guns were really the issue, or is it the people that we are employing? I could write an entire article on that subject, so I’ll leave that question alone and let the readers duke it out.
My view on the matter is simple. I believe that if you are legally able to own a firearm, you should be allowed to carry it whenever you feel necessary. Crossing a state line, entering a doorway or punching a time clock shouldn’t stop law-abiding citizens from exercising their god-given rights to self-defense. I’m not asking agencies to issue firearms or take on any additional risks. I’m just as much of an advocate for one’s right to choose not to carry. All I’m asking is that I be given the option to exercise my rights, should I so choose.