You would think our first responders would be allowed to legally carry their concealed carry weapons for self defense not only off the job, but especially on duty.
Now, a grassroots petition aims to persuade Tennessee lawmakers to take action and not only pass legislation to support first responders’ right to carry, but to recommend it.
The petition, started on Change.org by Brandon Gross of Westmoreland, TN, says “Due to changing times it is no longer safe for our first responders. We deserve the right to be able to protect ourselves and go home to our family. I feel that not only should it be legalized but should be recommended. I also feel there should be state approved training available as with law enforcement.”
Jamie Hensley has worked as a paramedic for almost 30 years, and has responded to his fair share of dangerous calls.
“I have had several guns and knives pulled on me throughout the year,s and one time when I worked in Unicoi we were held at gun point,” Hensley said.
Many thoughts go through his head when facing these situations. “My main goal is to get back to my family,” Hensley said.
He said though, it’s all a part of the job. “There is always going to be that element of risk.”
“It would be nice if we had some way to defend ourselves as a last ditch effort,” Hensley said.
However, Brad Gerfin with the Washington County-Johnson City EMS said adding a gun to the equation might do more harm than good.
“I truly feel that it would increase the potential for violence against our people,” Gerfin said.
He said they have considered using other means of safety, like bulletproof vests, but it was not in the budget and he said it wasn’t practical.
“They are going to cost $200-$300 thousand dollars,” Gerfin said.
Once it’s goal of 25o0 signatures is met, the petition will be delivered to the Tennessee State House, Republican Governor Bill Haslam, State Senator Mae Beavers, the Tennessee State Senate and Tennessee Emergency Medical Services. Currently, it is just 490 signatures shy of it’s goal.
What do you think? Should our first responders be allowed to legally carry their weapons when on duty?