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First, let me say that I am a supporter of the Second Amendment and our constitutional right as citizens to bear arms - so, calm down now before you read any further, I don't want your guns! That being said, I am not a supporter of any hypothesis where firefighters and first-responders are armed. I am not a cop, nor do I want to be! Law-enforcement is a highly specialized field where personnel are trained, trained, and trained on how and when to use, or not use, deadly force. I am a firefighter, and I train, train, and train, to help people in need and serve my community in a non-combatant role. I see a very distinct difference in our roles to protect the communities we serve.

What's more, I see only bad things on the horizon for the fire service if communities decide to arm their first responders - both legally and socially. If the fire and EMS service want better protection, it is my belief that more cops on the street and asking them respond to the scene of every call is the answer. Let the folks who are trained to deal with these situations handle these situations. After all, would you want a cop taking your pre-connect upon arrival and making entry because they obtained some state minimum firefighter training? I didn't think so!

Let cops be the cops - I don't want a gun!

Please keep your comments civil, folks - all others will be deleted. That being said, let's have a discussion… I want to hear your thoughts.

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Comment by Douglas Winston on March 13, 2013 at 8:40pm

Check me on something - we're not talking about Departments issuing firearms and requiring members to carry as a condition of employment... we're talking about medics and firefighters who have obtained CCW permits from the state on their own, who met the training and background check criteria, and are using that permit to carry on the job as they do off the job, right?

 

Nobody's changing job descriptions, making anyone become a public safety officer (cop and FF), making them have any more responsibility than that they have under their permit or making anyone carry who doesn't want to, right?

Because between the discussion here about "becoming a cop" and the content of the Law & Legal Issues Blog that was mentioned the line doesn't seem as much blurred as obliterated.

 

Apple = Apple, donut Orange = Orange.

Comment by Andrew Wilkinson on March 12, 2013 at 10:48pm

I must apologize, my first comment to this topic was not a well phrased one.  I can be very passionate about the 2nd Amendment and the right we have to protect ourselves.  With that being said, I too support personal accountability and common sense when it comes to possession of firearms.  On the fire grounds and on EMS calls, those who are firefighters and EMS personnel need to be more focused and concerned on the tasks they must perform than on control of a firearm.  To loose that control over a firearm would make a terrible situation worse, and that is why law enforcement is so necessary at emergency scenes.  Their focus can be on control and safety of the scene, of which is the firearm they have issued to them, it is a part of their job.  I have had the chance to be on both sides of the fence, so to speak, as for over 5 years I carried a firearm as part of my job while also being a volunteer firefighter and EMT.  I never once thought about trying to put my bunker gear on with a firearm, it's way to uncomfortable and the firearm is usually rendered useless because you would not be able to get to it.  I regulate myself when responding to calls, I simply will not jump on the truck if I have a firearm on my person.

Comment by Paul Combs on March 12, 2013 at 10:03pm

Well said, Phil!

Comment by Phil Reynolds on March 12, 2013 at 9:41pm

While I am an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment, and I do carry a concealed handgun while off duty, I agree that we should not be packing heat when we're on duty.

 

It's not an issue of "letting cops be cops", or concern for accidental discharges or "cooking off" (see this MSDS for Olin Winchester Ball Powder Propellant- the autoignition temperature is listed as 190-200 *C, or 347-392*F).  By the time my ammo cooks off, I've been dead for a while, and ammo cooking off outside a chamber isn't very dangerous.  I know, it can cook off in the chamber as well.

 

My issue is that everything I do on duty is the responsibility of my agency.  If I kill somebody driving my Engine, my training records are scrutinized.  If I make a medical error and a patient suffers, my training is scrutinized.  If I shoot somebody on-duty, it's no different than if a police officer shoots somebody - an agent of the local government offed a citizen, yo.  That makes me subject to the same training requirements regarding the use-of-force continuum, civil rights, marksmanship....I'm getting a headache thinking about it.

 

I have a big enough headache keeping up with my fire, paramedic, tech rescue, hazmat, sexual harassment, ethics, yada yada, and eieio continuing ed.  Carry a gat on duty?  No thanks.

 

phil

Comment by Paul Combs on March 12, 2013 at 4:29pm

Thank you!!

Comment by John K. Murphy on March 12, 2013 at 4:16pm

Paul, here are the links:

http://www.fireengineering.com/blogs/feblognetwork/john-k-murphy.html  Guns on the job

http://www.fireengineering.com/articles/2013/03/fire-commentary--a-... Frank Ricci et. al. article

 

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/fireengineeringtalkradio/2013/01/24/ep...   Guns on the Job discussion with Fire Service Attorneys Varone, Pinsky, Murphy, Comstock

Comment by Mike Stadler on March 12, 2013 at 3:57pm

I don't see personnel being allowed to carry guns on the job any time in the future here so that is a moot point. However, several people have made reference to being a cop as well as a firefighter. I have no desire to be in law enforcement. I do have a desire to live. In over 40 years I have been on a few emergency scenes where my life was in danger from the "bad guys". Fortunately, I have never been shot. Just thought I'd interject that just because the individual may carry a gun on the job doesn't mean he is now law enforcement. I always have my pistol and CWP when I am off duty. I do believe in self defense.

Comment by don beltrami on March 12, 2013 at 3:53pm

We already have suicide by cop, we don't need that added to reasons why someone calls 911 for ems/fire. Besides, if you carry, what do you do with ammo when you enter a burning structure? Leave it outside on the ground?  Doesn't make any sense. Most calls will have P.D. present, just use common sense, use the radio and  your best judgement and remember to look before leaping.

Comment by THOMAS D HORNE on March 12, 2013 at 3:37pm

Sorry that I cannot give you the other side because I agree that firearms of any kind do not belong on an ambulance or fire apparatus.  Now if someone wants to pay for a ballistic protective liner for my Turnout coat I would support that.  Having been shot at twice now in forty years of service I'm feeling that is two too many times to have that happen.

Comment by James Madison on March 12, 2013 at 3:35pm
Come on guys! Lets have one more thing to have to learn to do well. In my agency I currently have to be good at Firefighting, EMS, Tech Rescue and Hazmat. I think learning to be a cop would be the icing on the cake! Let's do it! Of course you see I'm being a little facetious. The last thing we need is firefighters carrying on the job.

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