Gun and turnout gear. Photo by Station Pride No 1
26 Jan 2019

Firefighters could soon be allowed to carry weapons in Virginia

Communication Group
Current Affairs in Fire & Rescue
Fire & Rescue World News

Firefighters acting as ambulance crew is nothing new, but now US firefighters and EMTs could also also start carrying guns and doing police related work.  A bill allowing firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics to carry a concealed firearm recently passed with a small majority in the Virginia Senate, according to the Washington Post.

The bill, S.B. 101, was sponsored by Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) who is the mother of an EMT.

Chase, known for being armed on the Senate floor, said that firefighters and EMS personnel may have the need to defend themselves, especially at the scene of a violent incident, and in Virginia’s rural areas where law enforcement is spread thin and may be slow to arrive at the scene.

The bill is opposed by Democrats led by Senator Jeremy Pike (D-Prince William) who is a volunteer firefighter in Dale City.  Pike warns that arming firefighters and EMTs without training could pose a danger and create a legal liability.

The bill now goes to the House.  A similar bill was defeated last year.

 

Cover Photo by Station Pride no 1, who also provides an interesting discourse on this topic on their page:

 

SUMMARY AS INTRODUCED: (Read the bill here:)

Carrying a concealed weapon; firefighters and emergency medical services providers. Provides that any firefighter or person employed as emergency medical services personnel who was previously employed as a law-enforcement officer or as a member of the Virginia National Guard, Armed Forces of the United States, or Armed Forces Reserves of the United States may carry a concealed weapon throughout the Commonwealth without a permit, provided that such firefighter or person employed as emergency medical services personnel has been approved to carry a concealed handgun by his fire chief or emergency medical services chief.