In states across the country, first responders are often on the scenes of emergencies before the police arrive – Paramedics, EMTS, fire fighters – all people trying to help others but who are often in dangerous situations and without the ability to protect themselves. Waiting for the police to arrive is not always optimal.
Rather than continue to have First Responders unprotected, the West Virginia Legislature has done what every legislature across the country should do and has decided that with the proper training, these people will be able to carry their handguns while on the job. From Guns.com:
The legislation would allow first responders, namely EMTs and firefighters, to carry guns once they have completed firearms training equivalent to the training required for West Virginia State Police.
The first responders would not be required to carry a gun and could seek reimbursement for the training costs once they become certified.
“We’ve got situations where we’re sending first responders into drug houses and areas of danger, particularly with overdoses,” Lovejoy told The Herald-Dispatch. “They have to wait for police to get there. When they show up, they often are the literal first responders and don’t have police with them in areas of danger. Right now, we don’t let them defend or protect themselves.”
First responders don’t have a choice about what areas they go into to help others. They do their job; it doesn’t matter where, when or who.
Of course they are sent into areas that are known for gang activity and violent crime but it doesn’t matter, they don’t choose who to try and save or help; they save or help no matter where they are called to.
It’s about time for them to be able to protect themselves. There have been situations where they have indeed been attacked when trying to help others; that should not even be an issue.
They should be allowed the same protections as the police who arrive during these situations as well. All are first responders, all need to have protection because they never know what situation they are arriving to.
Regular Americans are their own first responders when they carry a firearm for protection. Professional first responders should have the same ability to protect and defend themselves.
West Virginia seems to be making that happen, finally. The bill has passed the house and will now find its way onto the West Virginia Senate.