EMS Providers Carrying Guns – A terrible idea

Have you ever tried to kill a noxious, invasive weed in your yard? Think of something like bamboo or creeping charlie… something that isn’t serving any purpose and is hurting the growth of the good grass that you want to be in your lawn, something that just keeps popping up no matter what you seem to do.

That, my friends, is how I feel about the recent eruption of posts on Facebook and the blogs lately about how EMS providers should be allowed to carry guns. It’s an annoyance and hurts any constructive growth for our profession.

I’m going to come out right now and say that it is a terrible, awful, no good, very bad idea that needs to be put down the sewer like the turd of an idea it is. EMS providers should not carry guns. Not now, not ever. Never ever never never never. It is a terrible idea fraught with so many perils and pitfalls that it is more than just a slippery slope; it is a death trap that stands to hurt everyone should it come to fruition anywhere.

I didn’t form this opinion lightly. In fact, I strongly support our right as Americans to keep and bear arms. I generally support concealed carry. I don’t take disagreeing with the likes of the venerable Kelly Grayson as anything other than something very serious. I respectfully, yet strenuously, disagree with his opinion and while I know he has reasons for what he believes; I just can’t support his position on this issue.

EMS providers should not carry guns. They should not be issued guns to carry by their agencies; they should not be allowed to carry on-duty even if they have a permit to carry off-duty; they should not be allowed to carry even if they are sworn law enforcement officers working EMS part-time or as a volunteer. I do not say this because I am a bleeding-heart liberal because I am not. I say this, because it is a terrible idea.

Here are some of the reasons why:

1. Using a weapon for defense or as a tool for any other kind of task takes training, experience, and practice. Not only that, it takes lots of training, lots of experience, and lots of practice. Police officers, military heroes, and other professionals who are armed for their occupations receive lots of training, experience, and (hopefully) practice. Without it, any weapon becomes less of a tool and more of a liability. Remember folks, EMS is a profession where members furiously struggle against adding even tiny amounts of time to their initial training classes and can barely be forced to sit through, let alone actively participate in required continuing education classes. Can we ever hope to get them to train, practice, and gain experience in the safe handling and use of a weapon? It’s not possible and won’t happen.

2. Has gun violence against EMS providers spiked recently? Is it really bad out there? I personally know police officers who have been fired upon and hear regularly about police officers who have been shot. It’s terrible for them and I respect the courage they display by simply doing their jobs. While I hear about and have personally experienced physical attacks on EMS providers, the vast majority of them are closed hand attacks perpetrated by mentally impaired, intoxicated, or otherwise disturbed individuals, I rarely if ever have heard of an EMS provider being shot with a gun or stabbed. While I could believe that EMS providers have a higher risk of being shot or stabbed while performing their duties than does the general public, I have never seen data to prove that. I’ll concede though, that it passes the smell test and could be true. However… do you want to know why EMS providers aren’t being shot, stabbed, or assaulted to the extent that police officers are? It’s because we’re not cops. It should never be taken lightly that we are, if not considered neutral in street culture as we are targeted on occasion, largely considered to be non-combatants. We’re not cops. We’re out there to make everyone feel better and are largely being left alone. It’s a finite balance that will be upset the first time that Clint EMStwood pulls out his shootin’ iron and points it at a gang-banger. Once that happens, we lose our neutrality and will be targeted much more often than the comparatively rare times we are now. People will die because of it.

3. More lives have been saved by EMS’s policy of withdrawal from violent situations than could ever be saved by EMS carrying guns. It isn’t cowardly for us to withdraw, it is lifesaving. We do not enter dangerous situations and we do whatever we can to run from them when we find them. Bravado doesn’t figure in to this. We don’t do it because we are cowardly; we do it because it is not our role to face violence. Eventually, people who skirt this rule and do not withdraw run into situations where they must act in a hostile nature to defend themselves or someone else. Eventually, people who do not withdraw injure or kill someone; perhaps they are injured or killed themselves. EMS providers do not have the legal protection, authority, or ability to act in hostile situations. It isn’t our job and it isn’t our job for a reason. That’s what cops do and EMS providers aren’t cops. If you personally want to be a cop, go be a cop. If you wanted to be a cop but found out that it was easier to get a job as an EMT and now hope to bridge the jobs to realize your dreams, then please leave EMS. You’re not helping as much as you think you are. If you just want to strap a gun on your uniform because you think it looks cool, you’re probably not the type of person who reads EMS blogs because of all of the fancy words we tend to use. You may say that we can still withdraw at the same rates that we do now, but I’ll quote my father, who told me that “When you have a gun, every fight is a gun fight.”

You may disagree with me and that’s fine. Please leave your reasoned, courteous debate in the comments section. However I will state that all of the debates on this topic tend to degenerate into shouting matches where the supporters of EMS providers carrying guns prove to me that the state of this country’s educational system could stand to be improved. Do not do that here.

Stay safe out there. If you'd like to read another opinion I agree with, our friend Greg Friese posted this on the same topic.

  • Aline

    I agree with you Chris. There have been many times on the streat that our neutrality was the reason we were able to walk away. Most of the bangers in the area realize that we treat them also and, for the most part, leave us alone. I believe in everyones right to keep and bear arms and I have, in the past, had a concealed carry permit, but I will not carry on the job. Not only does it make us a target, but I worry about the amount of training people would need to properly use and retain their weapon, not being provided.
    Most of the time, when I have been in a fight with a patient, it was due to fear, mental illness, or a medical condition that has interered with their ability to reason. These do not warrant an armed response, it warrants a withdrawl from the scene until back up arrives. If the scene is a violent one, we shouldn’t be there without backup in the first place. The last thing I want is to be on a scene going south and have my deputy dog partner pull a weapon and shoot me instead of the aggressor
    Before everyone starts screaming, I do understand that there are systems out there that don’t have enough law enforcement to cover them on every potentially violent call…those crews must decide for themselves and follow policy on When, how, IF to proceed in.
    For those that say, if you aren’t willing to go into a violent scene then you should pull up your pants and go home, I say I will I can’t help anyone if I am lying dead. Not my partner, not the patient, and sure as Hell not my family. I have every intention of watching my children become the men they are meant to be…and if that means backing out of a scene, or hiding around the corner while LE clears the scene, so be it. You live with your choice and I will live with mine.
    .

  • Ambulance_Driver

    Let’s be clear: never in my blog post did I state it was a good idea. In fact, I stated that I never felt the need to carry on-duty.

    What I did say was that, if Virginia EMT’s are allowed to carry, and the obstacles to implementation can be resolved, was that a) the vast majority of those who take the opportunity would be pre-existing CHL holders, and since those people are among the safest and most law-abiding in society, then b) nothing much would come of it.

    This is not just me spouting off. This has been borne out by experience wherever they have relaxed gun restrictions. Greg was dismayed that Wisconsin was going to allow concealed carry of firearms. Many thousands of Wisconsin residents went out and got concealed carry permits as soon as they were legally available. What happened?

    Nothing.

    My position on this is simple. Carrying a weapon is a personal choice. I will carry one where it is legal. I don’t expect anybody else to, and don’t much care if one does or doesn’t. I carry a weapon to protect me. And if it is legal, I’m not going to object to any other human being exercising that right.

    I never really felt the need to carry on-duty where I work. You haven’t either. We’re comfortable with the odds. But let’s understand that our experience is not everyone’s experience, and no matter how favorable the odds may look to us, when we that decision for other people, we are gambling with their lives, not our own.

    Is that morally justifiable, Chris?

    Now, let me address some of your other points:

    1. Police and military have better handgun training than civilians. Not necessarily so. Most police officers have more extensive initial training than civilians, but they practice far less frequently than most hobby shooters. Skills atrophy. Most cops practice with their firearms before yearly qualifications, and that’s it. Those that DO practice seriously usually do so because they are gun enthusiasts, not because they’re cops. Secondly, military training in the use of a sidearm is scarcely any better than a cop’s, and they practice with it just about as much. It’s not their primary weapon, and not every soldier carries them.

    Secondly, you’re arguing this as if agencies are going to issue sidearms. The examples cited would be allowing EMT’s to carry, not issuing. As such, your “Gosh, it’s hard enough to get ‘em to attend my con ed on 12-lead EKG’s, much less attend a combat training course” argument doesn’t wash.

    2. Is violence against EMS on the rise? Yes. Is concealed carry of firearms the logical solution? Debatable, and I’d even say no. But as I stated before, here your n=1. Just because you haven’t heard of it or experienced it doesn’t mean it isn’t happening, and just because you feel comfortable with your safety, is it morally justifiable to forbid another human being, whose circumstances may be entirely different, a legal means of protecting himself?

    Also, you contradict yourself. You say you’re unopposed to concealed carry of firearms off-duty, yet you vehemently oppose it while on-duty. Stated reason: we’re safe enough without it.

    Our chances of violent death are far higher than the civilian population’s. Granted, the vast majority of those deaths are due to motor vehicle accidents, and we should be devoting more time to that issue instead of arguing over gun rights, but we still are more likely to die by homicide than any civilian, with the possible exceptions of inner city liquor store clerks and unlicensed recreational pharmaceutical dealers.

    And how, exactly, does a concealed firearm mean you no longer get to claim non-combatant status? Concealed means concealed, Chris. No one knows you’re carrying it but you, up until the moment you draw it to defend your life. You’ll note I opposed open carry of firearms on-duty for that very reason – it affects our patient’s attitude toward us. That is not the case with a concealed firearm.

    “Clint Eastwood pulls out his shootin’ iron and points it at a gang banger?”

    Really, Chris? Weak-assed dramatics are beneath you. You’re a smarter guy than that. First of all, that is called “brandishing,” and it’s already illegal. The only time a pistol should leave its holster is when you fear for your life and reasonably presume the need to pull the trigger. Some confrontations may stop short of that, but in those cases, I respectfully suggest that public perception is irrelevant at that point.

    You’re implying that the presence of a gun on an EMT’s hip would somehow magically spur him to go all Dirty Harry at the first opportunity, and that is complete and utter bullshit. Usually, it’s just the opposite.

    3. So how, exactly, does the presence of a gun spur someone to take chances? Why would we behave any differently with a weapon on our hips, in regard to police backup, staging outside of unsafe scenes, withdrawal from volatile situations, and the like? None of those safety mechanisms changes when you’re wearing a gun.

    Have you ever taken a defensive handgun class? I suspect you haven’t, but you really should. You’d be much better informed, and you’d change your perception, because the #1 mantra in every one of these classes is “The only sure way to win a gunfight is never to get into one.” The didactic portion of the classes are almost entirely devoted to 1) safety, 2) applicable self-defense laws, and 3) non-violent conflict resolution, ie avoiding the gunfight.

    Allowing an EMT who also holds a CHL to also carry while on-duty doesn’t grant him arrest powers, and it is disingenuous, perhaps even irrational to presume that once a EMT carries a weapon, he wants to play cop. I carry a weapon every day of my personal life, and I know I’m not a cop. I’m a big, fat chicken with a Kahr CW9 strapped to my hip. It’s not my duty to intervene with my weapon in someone else’s argument. My gun is not on my hip to keep the peace, it is there to protect me. I’ll run away from a fight every time, just don’t be unlucky enough to catch me or block my means of escape. Every CHL holder I know has the same outlook, and keep in mind that the circles I run in, I know a lot of CHL holders.

    Your Dad was right when he said, “When you have a gun, every fight is a gun fight.”

    And nobody knows that better than the guy with a pound of metal and plastic strapped to his hip.

    As such, they’re far more likely to avoid a confrontation than the average guy, because they know where it can go.

    As you said, this is a tough issue to discuss dispassionately. The subject of gun rights provokes visceral reactions from people on both sides.

    Heck, it provoked such a visceral reaction from you that you went and dashed off a blog post vehemently disagreeing with my position, without even making sure what my position was, or what about it you are disagreeing with.

    Education on this issue goes a long way towards understanding. Even you, as intelligent and well-informed as you are about most things in EMS, make several of your arguments based upon ignorance or misinformation.

    I think we DO need to be talking about it, as opposed to shouting at each other about it, so the quicker we can put the issue to rest and move on to issues more substantive to EMS.
    .

    • E_flannery

      That in short, was a perfect response.

    • http://sixlettervariable.blogspot.com/ Christopher

      If I found out my partner had a firearm on him, I’d ask to be reassigned with someone who didn’t or to be issued by own.

      It boils down to this: I don’t trust anybody but myself with a gun.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1088829873 Skip Kirkwood

      Is violence against EMS on the rise? Yes.

      Can somebody show me? We’re medical guys and gals. Where is the epidemiology? I know that I fly a desk most days, but I don’t hear any more about violence against EMS now than I did in 1983 or 1996…..

      • Ambulance_Driver

        True. Data would be nice.

        It may be that, with the proliferation of EMS-specific news aggregators and web forums, we’re merely hearing about them more readily than in years past.

      • Bobball

        I actually wrote on that subject in the mid-1990s.

        Assault rates at 4 major cities (Minneapolis, Boston, LA, & I forget the last) averaged about 10% of their staff per year. Don’t know about elsewhere; but our injuries by assault are at 8%. Not a big drop…but certainly no worse than 20 years ago (when we didn’t have chemical restraints & almost every uncooperative patient was a fight with potential to assault staff).

    • John doe

      I think the point being missed here is the fact that carrying comes in different forms and the way in which a medic should carry is for that of assistance and self defense when put in the light of an unpredictable life or death to him or even his partner. open carrying like as a cop does states and obvious authority, like said in other responses the ability to arrest is what comes across. whereas medics come across as the people that are there to help and save. and it should remain this way. medics need to retain this and be an advocate for the public and someone they can depend on to help them. regardless of our ability to help and treat patients, one could and will argue that concealed carrying for the purposes of protection of yourself, crew, patient, and assistance to other personnel (i.e; law enforcement) with the proper training would be an effective addition to our profession especially in certain areas of the country. defining proper training:
      A extensive Course in Firearms training, tactical defense, and situation response that upon completion of a standard psychomotor and intellectual tests are passed at the levels of law enforcement should be able to carry a concealed firearm while on duty. maintenance of training is mandatory with biannual psychomotor training and testing.
      You have the right to protect your self and also the right to remove your self. the point is that neither are better than the other. simply it is by your discretion if put in specific (protocol dependent) situations written and approved between joint law enforcement and EMS a provider should be able to act upon his tools provided.

      I have a lot more research on this topic from both an EMS side and Law enforcement as well as military. And although I am an advocate I have both arguments and listen to both. it is up to the self to determine the right. and sometimes it takes a situation to open a persons eyes and see something different.

    • Irel4850

      I don’t think we need guns, however I would like to be able to carry pepper spray. Something that would give me a chance to get away or slow down a violant Pt in the back of the truck. Being thrown around in the back is no fun.

  • Neveil

    You carry a gun because the bad guy might have one. If the scene is not safe and you can’t escape I guess you can stop a bullet with your littmann… Reading a monitor is harder then using a gun. Buy a Dam Air Soft and practice.

  • Ecrews Ems

    Amen bro, we have been recently discussing this in my medic school lately and it does seem to always boil down to a shouting match. However I just tell them… “If you want to carry a gun on the job, go be a cop”. We should all remember this Latin phrase “primum no nocere” above all do no harm.

    • http://www.facebook.com/alan.w.rose Alan W. Rose

      Do no harm … to me. Self defense is a human right. I never swore to a Hippocratic oath.

  • mpatk

    I think Kelly said it best. People who are ALREADY concealed carry permit holders are likely to be well practiced and trained in gun use. Those people IMHO should be allowed to carry their guns according to their employer’s policy (i.e. not blocked by the government). The slackers who do the minimum CEs and try to skate by with minimal knowledge won’t take the time and effort required to get the concealed carry permit, so they won’t get to carry a gun on duty anyhow.

    Personally, I’d probably not choose to carry a weapon (not that I’ll have the opportunity in California); but I believe it’s a choice that should be allowed.

    What you’re arguing against, and I think every reasonable person argues against as well, is the idea of allowing EMS to carry guns BECAUSE they’re EMS (as opposed to the person already being licensed).

  • Gary Merrill

    I am a strong supporter of the right to keep and bear arms and for law-abiding citizens to have the right to carry arms in public. However, when I’m working as a paramedic, and I’m working with a patient, I can’t properly keep control and security of a weapon. It would be too easy for a bystander or even the patient to grab a gun off my belt while I’m starting an IV or putting on ECG leads. As the director of my service I have a policy that no firearms are allowed in the ambulance except in the possession of a uniformed law enforcement officer who is there for the protection of my crew.

    I agree. Arming EMS personnel is a terrible idea.

    • http://www.facebook.com/alan.w.rose Alan W. Rose

      How do citizens protect their firearms when they are shopping or eating? How do LEOs protect their firearms when they are making an arrest or in a physical confrontation? You do realize that EMS providers might actually NOT carry an open gun on their belts, right?

      • Skip Kirkwood

        Citizens who are shopping or eating do not come in intimate physical contact with others. They don’t lean over, examine, listen, poke and prod. EMS folks get up close and personal with their patients, all day every day.

        LEOs wear large, level 3 security holsters that are not amenable to concealment. They also have at their disposal multiple intermediate force options that are not available to EMS. And mostly, they don’t get in to one-on-one with bad guys – they get 6 buddies to help. When they DO go one-on-one, they often get hurt or disarmed.

        I do realize that EMS folks might not openly carry their firearm – I’ve been carrying concealed for 30 years. I also realize that if a weapon is concealed deeply enough to be safe from the patient I’m treating, it is too deep to be drawn and used in a reasonable time and manner.

  • mpatk

    Gary, that’s why the consideration is for CONCEALED carry. They aren’t going to take away something they don’t know you have.

    Open carry by EMS is a horrible idea. Open Carry + uniforms = police, not EMS.

  • TN EMT

    As someone who has gone through police academy firearms training, I not
    only agree that police practice less than hobby shooters, their training
    is far from extensive. Two weeks on the range is hardly extensive,
    especially when the targets are static. Hunters are much better trained
    shooters than most metropolitan police officers. Personally, I’ve done
    much more myself to train as a shooter than what was required to be a
    cop. Also, as some here have already said, we’re not arming EMS, we’d be
    allowing those who are already trained to carry. I guess all the police
    agencies that have trained EMT’s or Paramedics have gone to hell too,
    huh? Not one sane person has EVER tried to make an argument that EMS
    should assume police duties. E-V-E-R. You have bought into this bogus
    argument that guns automatically make someone more aggressive. As a Meme
    I recently saw put it, Spock to Kirk, “Logic dictates, Captain, that if
    the Pro-gunners were as violent as the Anti-gunners say they are,there wouldn’t be any Anti-gunners left” (to bitch). If you were actually aware of how many of our brothers and sisters do carry, I would suspect you would be very skittish around the job. The fact that you and others are not aware of the protections available, shows your ignorance with firearms. Last, having a firearm does not prevent you from withdrawing or staging. Those are the best options, but they aren’t always available. When they aren’t, you’re defenseless if you placed all your preparation on those two options.

  • Me

    I am still undecided on this, but I will say that I have personally been in a situation that was “deemed” safe where I ended up being shot at and would have been more than happy if I had had a concealed firearm. I would have stopped things a lot sooner…… There are places in the US that ARE that dangerous, and the threat is a real threat. (and NO, I am not going to name the service I work for or the area for multiple reasons)

  • Surfer032

    I am a full time paid cop and a full time paid paramedic (two seperate employers). I carry my gun because when the wolf comes I will not be a sheep. I have no intention of painting a target on the backs of fellow EMS providers but I’m going to be alive for the next debate. I don’t talk about having a gun and you’d never know I had one on me if I met you. It’s not to be cool or anything of that nature. It’s my metaphorical seatbelt for the unexpected violence of man.

  • JJ

    I don’t think that having a gun is the safest idea. However I believe thatv EMS providers should have some type of self defense tool other then the pocket knife most of them carry. I believe they should be allowed to carry pepper spray or tasers. I volunteer in a safe area but we do have our unsafe moments. We have had crews attacked by groups of people. I don’t think we should start shooting right away, but rather stun the person so they can’t cause any more injury to anyone, while awaiting the arrival of local law enforcement.

  • OR EMT

    As a Concealed carrier, and as an EMT I would never carry on the job. I have found that by not having my gun on my belt has protected me more than if I carried. It’s the neutrality of our position that allows us to treat the criminals, and the average citizen. I have had knifes pulled on me while in the field and have always been able to talk my way out of it largely due to the fact that I don’t carry, and that I am there to help. IMHO, it is best to keep our guns at home, and not on the ambulance.

    • http://www.facebook.com/alan.w.rose Alan W. Rose

      Pocket carry.

  • thapp826

    As crazy as it sounds, most and I mean the ones that I am aware of, law enforcement agencies require a psychological evaluation of all the officers prior to getting their job. So why not for this reason also. Nothing is fool proof but maybe some would feel better about it. I am kind of on the fence on this one. I have been nearly an hour away from any help before and I was fine then but what if something would have happened? Things can go bad in a hurry. They usually didn’t in those areas, most the people in those areas are the nicest people you can ever meet but in the recent years meth labs moved into those areas and with that you get the tweaks and the paranoids. We all know there is a swat team in the woods spying on them all the time. Even though the county didn’t even have a swat team at the time. We could say what if all week and never really come up with a good answer. I think it just matters more to the area and the situation more than anything. I dont think all people are gun crazed idiots who stroke their gun just waiting on the right moment. Even given that I was able to carry I would not in all areas. There are some that I would love to have the option but I really dont think I would be in more danger by not having anything on me. We dont know every situation and every area.

  • Connor

    Your first point:
    I actually agree completely with your original sentence. However, your last two sentences are inane. Can we ever get people to practice? Well, if we can make people sit through lectures on varying subjects every month then yes, we can get people to practice. However, your statement was most likely based off the assumption that EMS personnel would be mandated to have guns….which is not what is currently happening. What is happening in VA for example is that EMS providers are being ALLOWED to have guns…which indicates that only owners of guns would be applicable. I know many gun owners, and I know for a fact that they train regularly and that safety is top priority. I obviously can’t vouch for every gun owner, but neither can you. The fact that you state that it’s not possible for people to train on weapons and to be safe with them actually made me laugh at your naivete. Sorry, but it’s true.

    Your second point:
    Not everything is nationwide news and not everything makes the news. If an EMT/medic were shot and/or killed then yes, you would hear about it. I, like you, don’t know the data on EMS related shootings. I did do some quick google searches and found several stories. Three EMS shootings in NY, one was shot in Indianapolis, one was shot in WV, another in FL, and one in GA. It took me literally 3 minutes to find them and those were only stories on shootings, not stabbings or assaults. If you like I can post them to you to prove I’m not lying. Whether or not a gun would have helped them is unknown and debatable.

    The fact remains though EMS is a dangerous field and not everyone looks at us kindly. Yes, for the most part we are neutral, but members of the public don’t all know that. I still have patients that assume I can tell them whether or not they should go to the hospital. I have patients that don’t understand why I can’t take their sick relative to the hospital against their will. Hell, people don’t understand why we stage out for law enforcement during unsafe scenes. If members of the public can’t understand why we stage out until the scene is safe then they obviously don’t understand the key differences between our roles and the roles of other responders. With that being said, you can’t expect everyone to assume we are neutral and to act in accordance with that neutrality if they are unaware of it.

    Your third point:
    You know, you almost had me there. I was agreeing with you until about halfway through and that was when you lost me. I believe you are under the assumption that EMS would be mandated to alter their behavior due to this subject. If that is the case then I agree with you that it shouldn’t happen. EMS should not alter how they go about things. We should still stage for LEO, and we should still call for LEO if the scene is unsafe. The argument for allowing EMS providers to carry guns is so that in a life or death situation the EMT/medic in question can defend themselves. You don’t pull a gun on someone who insulted your mother (unless you’re mentally unstable), you pull a gun on someone who is about to kill you.

    Your statement “EMS providers do not have the legal protection, authority, or ability to act in hostile situations.” is both true and untrue. We don’t have the right to go into a hostage situation and beat the bad guy with our handy dandy clipboard until he gives up the hostage and surrenders. However, we have the right to defend ourselves. If a patient gets aggressive we leave and wait for LEO. But if LEO isn’t there and we can’t leave then it’s time to do what you can to not wind up as a vegetable. Restraint protocols exist for a reason, but there are times where protocols just are not going to help you.

    I respectfully disagree with your opinion sir, and I regret that you seem to view all gun carriers as brutes who are incapable of thinking intelligently. No, you didn’t say such a thing outright, but your language was indicative of someone who holds much disdain for someone like me. I wish you well in your ventures.

    • http://www.facebook.com/alan.w.rose Alan W. Rose

      Not too long ago I saw a news clip about EMS staging. The city councilman believed that EMS providers know their job is dangerous but also they must help, therefore they should take the risk and not wait for LEOs. It’s geniuses like this that may force EMS carry, not make it optional.

    • SGilbert

      This is very well said. I thank you and strongly agree with your statements.

  • Anon

    Perhaps when his EMS department starts to mandate tactical bullet resistant vests on every call (as tey do here. It comes out of the uniform allowance), he’ll begin to understand the issue from a different standpoint. This IS a large city Third Service EMS Department where the PD is virtually always at least nearby.

  • Swallila

    I know a few medics that do carry a weapon and have a conceled weapons permit to do so! These medics have 1-2 hour transports off a very brutal Indian Reservations in Montana. Honestly in my area it is NOT needed at all, and I wouldn’t even think about it. But these Female EMT’s Transporting for hours with big, drunk, doped up, etc., that don’t have anything to lose people,I think I would pack also!

  • http://www.facebook.com/alan.w.rose Alan W. Rose

    Good argument, unfortunately AFAIK there is no Indian reservation in America that allows concealed carry; it is always illegal and reservation LEOs will arrest you for it, if you’re caught.

  • jerryl. huff

    I understand everybody’s thoughts on this. I am also glad to know that many people have looked at this for both pro and con. My only point I want to make is that…I’d rather be juged by 12 than carried by 6. It is what it is! Have a nice day!

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  • Jdmedic

    I will raise here one point I have raised in other places, concealed carry laws and regulations vary greatly from state to state. Many places require fairly extensive training – both didactic and practical. BUT many states do not require any training or even proof that you know in which direction to point the gun. In Pennsylvania if you have no convictions for felonies, violent crime, have not been involuntaryily committed and have no outstanding Protection From Abuse orders against you, you are entitled to a concealed carry permit. Just as different states, or even different parts of the same state, have different protocols, you cannot make a blanket case for or against an issue when the facts are based on apples and oranges.

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  • PARAMEDIC70002

    Volunteer firefighter in WV shoots man on murderous rampage, on scene of assault call.

    http://www.firerescue1.com/volunteer/articles/1354892-Volunteer-firefighter-shoots-hammer-wielding-killer-to-halt-rampage/

  • Ali Renee

    I am glad you are in an area where truly bad things don’t happen on the jobto you or your co-workers, I really am. There are many of us, however, that work where bullet holeshave been putin the sides of ambulances. What is worse is knowingan EMS professionalwho ran for cover with bullets flying andhis partner had beenshot. Or my personal story of guns being drawn by officers around my head at a suspect where the scene was not properly secured. Unfortunately I could go on. This is the reality for some of us, be thankful of your surroundings. I do not personally carry on the job, but the thought has crossed my mind.

  • http://www.survivetime.org/ HenryBowman1776

    You say your not a bleeding heart liberal but most certainly are. An EMT carrying a concealed weapon wouldn’t result in shootouts. You even stated that they get attacked/assaulted while in the course of their job, why shouldn’t they be able to defend themselves? We trust this person to “save lives” and make “life or death” decison yet we don’t trust them enough to carry a firearm? The communist have won as per all the marxist comments below it seems.

  • Skip Kirkwood

    I think that we tend to over-analyze this issue. Concepts like “neutrality” are too sophisticated for the street. Training and proficiency are not the issue.

    Carrying a firearm because of the violence against EMS personnel is much like treating the flu with antibiotics. Wrong tool for the job. Yes, there is violence. NO, there very little (perhaps no) defensible violence where deadly force is involved. In other words, the violence that we see against EMS providers is of the type that the EMS provider would go to jail if he or she used a firearm to defend themselves.

    This from a tried and true, ex-cop, ex-combat corpsman, current CCL dude, who works in a high-shooting environment.

    • Barefoot in MN

      sir, first, thank you for your service (all varieties). second: you are a male. You already have an advantage just considering your likely height, skeletal structure ratios, etc compared to a female EMT/medic. And your training in other areas (situation defusing etc) is sure to help you in EMS; in fact I envy you that training. I’m a female, over 50, under 5’2″, & not as strong as I used to be; I need an equalizer. I carry off-duty but I sure wish I had the option to carry “something”, –anything!– while on-duty. Pepper spray can take, what, up to 15 minutes (?) to have an effect… a lot of damage can be done in 15 minutes. Besides – there are options not even mentioned in the comments I’ve read so far: such as, have the concealed handgun’s projectiles be birdshot instead of bullets. Heck, even rock salt would get an offender’s attention, IMHO. But if employers want to get cheap help they need to let us defend ourselves. If they don’t want us able to defend ourselves, they need to up the payscale. My 2 cents. Thanks for listenin. ‘ :-)

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Chris Kaiser aka "Ckemtp"

I am a paramedic trying to advance the idea that the Emergency Medical Services can be made into the profession that we all want it, need it, and know it deserves to be.

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  • Comments
    Ianto Jones
    The Natural Alignment Movement – Freedom of Choice from the Orthopedic Conspiracy
    Oh, dear G-d. This was hilarious, but I'm fighting not to find it dangerous as well -- someone's gonna share it on FB, and one of _their_ friends is going to send it to Bright Star MorningGlory Rainbow, who will send it to her YahooGroup, and someone there will reply that he *thinks* he broke…
    2014-11-18 09:54:00
    Thad Torix
    Patient Friendly Jokes
    Have you heard my construction joke? I'm still working on it.... (Credit to my youngest daughter for that one. My partners are absolutely sick of hearing that joke...) On another note, what a fantastic blog. If you are ever in SW Missouri, stop by and say hello. Thad Torix - EMS Instructor & Clinical Coordinator…
    2014-11-03 18:27:00
    mr618
    Welcome to the Club
    Well said, Chris. We can't save everybody, but the ones we don't save tend to stick around a lot longer than the ones we do save.
    2014-10-18 14:40:00
    Steel City Medic
    Welcome to the Club
    Particularly appropriate for me this week. Thanks.
    2014-09-23 21:46:00
    DiverMedic
    Welcome to the Club
    Very well done, Chris.
    2014-09-17 22:15:00

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