Should EMTs Be Permitted To Carry Concealed Firearms?

Emergency Medical Technicians answer a lot of calls that have little to no risk at all. They roll up to a house in a nice neighborhood to check out someone feeling a little lightheaded or something, then possibly load them up on the ambulance and take them to the hospital. Even if the call is a bit more intense, there’s not a lot of risks.

Yet sometimes, that’s not the case. They roll up to a call in a completely different situation. They might find people who wish them harm, perhaps for the drugs they think might be on the ambulance or for some other reason.

This has led to some discussion in EMT circles about whether they should be able to carry concealed firearms. A poll seems to suggest the majority are OK with people carrying. However, let’s just say that some other people have some rather bizarre ideas about the topic.

As EMS, our duty to act includes responding, evaluating, treating and transporting a patient(s) in an emergency. The depth and breadth of knowledge and understanding we need to accomplish our job is already tremendous. To add weapon training to the EMS repertoire is out of scope not to mention time and cost prohibitive. Any scope of duty for a first responder to include carrying a weapon (even non-lethal) crosses the line from emergency medical care into law enforcement territory. The administrative work of incorporating standardized weapon training into EMS would strain already stressed resources.

The hypocrisy of permitting deadly weapons on an ambulance while not allowing an EMT to break skin when providing care is both comedy and tragedy. It could lead to situations where I could shoot someone, but I couldn’t check their blood glucose level (in some states).

Correction: EMTs wouldn’t be allowed to break the skin on a patient. Someone who is trying to harm you or your partner isn’t a patient. They’re a target. That’s something one must understand first and foremost.

Further, the idea that simply carrying a gun makes someone somehow law enforcement is beyond ridiculous. No one is trying to give EMTs arrest powers. They’re suggesting that these people who go into very sketchy situations should have the means to protect themselves.

That’s it.

Yet that’s not the only idea that seems bizarre to me.

Extensive and specific training and experience goes into surviving a use of force (UOF) that escalates to deadly force, both physically (most important) and legally (second most important, thanks to arm-chair quarterbacks, and a malignant popular media).

Arming EMS personnel will require a massive sea change in who we employ; how we train as providers; and who we employ, train, and put forward as leaders and litigators to protects us after the fact when a UOF occurs.

Honestly, this has me wondering just who the hell is being hired as EMTs in the first place. I mean, some of these ambulances may have various medications on them, something that would be attractive to a disreputable EMT, and that’s apparently not an issue. So how is allowing a law-abiding EMT to carry a firearm somehow a personnel problem?

The truth here is that some people have gotten it into their heads that only select individuals should carry a gun.

However, what they need to understand is that a significant number of EMTs already carry firearms in their day-to-day life without issue. They’re law-abiding citizens exercising their Second Amendment rights without there being a whole host of problems, so why do so many people foresee an issue if they’re riding in an ambulance?

The answer, of course, is that there isn’t an issue. It’s that some people are so freaked out by guns in the hands of anyone that they can’t help but see it as an issue.

It’s time for those folks to grow the hell up.