First Responders look to Carry with New Bills in TX and South Carolina

Emergency responders in most states are prevented from carrying defensive firearms. This is a result of governmental employee rules and regulations, or, in some cases, private employment rules. In two states, lawmakers are seeking to reform those rules. In Texas, a reform bill, HB 435, would allow first responders to carry defensive arms if they have a concealed carry permit. From

Currently, there is no state law that addresses this issue, policies are set at the local level and vary by location.

“You need to be able to exercise your Second Amendment right,” Flynn said. The legislation looks to give first responders the authority to exercise that right, Flynn said. “To protect themselves because they do go into harm’s way often.”

House Bill 435 would also allow volunteers for emergency services to be armed.

The statewide proposals do not require any additional training for first responders who are licensed to carry.“You have to assume it’s like a drivers’ license,” Flynn said. “You know how to drive before you get a license, you know how to shoot a gun before you get a license.”

A similar bill is being considered in South Carolina. Emergency responders often find themselves in dangerous and unexpected situations. They are trained to deal with difficult people, but are not allowed to carry weapons at present.  They rely on police officials to respond, but that can take time.  From

Currently it is illegal for emergency responders other than law enforcement to carry firearms, but the bill would change that for “emergency medical services providers, firefighters, or other first responders who are engaged in examining, treating or directing persons during an emergency and who are authorized to carry a concealed weapon…”

The bill, sponsored in part by Rep. Steven Long of Boiling Springs, said it is another way for first responders to stay safe on calls.

The amendment requires that firefighters and emergency workers who carry go through rigorous training before doing so.

Kansas enacted a law in 2016, that allows all state workers to carry on the job.

Public employees in Kansas can now carry concealed guns “on the job”. Knasas lawmakers recently passed the bill, which means anyone working for the state, such as paramedics and firefighters, can carry a gun.

Some public employees asked lawmakers for the right to carry a concealed weapon because of the dangerous and violent situations they experience on the job, and lawmakers listened.

The new gun law means firefighters, paramedics or anyone working for the state can now carry a concealed weapon.

These legislative moves are reflective of the cultural shift back to the understanding that self defense is a right, and that weapons empower individuals. The understanding that ordinary people can and do use weapons responsibly. Emergency responders, as a group, have a large of percentage of members with concealed carry permits. They deal with violence and the necessity of taking immediate action as a part of their job.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. Gun Watch


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