Can Firefighters Carry Guns? Should They? (2022)

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Firefighters find themselves in many dangerous situations while working and they’re not all because of fires. In fact, there is a growing and ugly trend of individuals attacking first responders, including firefighters, on emergency calls.Should they be allowed to carry a gun to protect themselves and the public?

In most of the United States, firefighters are not permitted to carry guns while on duty. But this is changing in some states and the issue around firefighters carrying guns is not a simple one to figure out.

Let’s take a closer look at this issue and hear both sides of the discussion. Take a look.

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Also read: Can Firefighters Pull You Over or Give You a Ticket?

Table of Contents

  • Can Firefighters Carry Guns?
  • Should Firefighters Carry Firearms?
    • The Arguments Against Firefighters Carrying Guns
    • The Arguments For Firefighters Carrying Guns
  • Are There Armed Firefighters?
    • Do Army Firefighters See Combat?
    • What Military Branch Is Best For Firefighters?
  • Can EMTs Carry Guns?
    • Can Paramedics Carry Guns?
    • Do SWAT Medics Carry Guns?
    • Sources
    • Related Articles

Can Firefighters Carry Guns?

Can Firefighters Carry Guns? Should They? (1)

At this moment in time, firefighters in the United States are not, generally speaking, permitted to carry guns or other firearms while on duty.

(Video) Should firefighters carry guns?

This is, however, developing into something of a contentious issue, as there has been a large increase in the number of attacks on emergency responders, including firefighters.

There are exceptions to this rule and, for example, a law in Kansas was passed in 2016, which allows both EMTs and firefighters to carry while on the job.

There are other states at various points along the way to legalize the right of EMTs and firefighters to carry while on duty too.

In California city, Firefighters can carry firearms as well, take a look:

Also read: Can Firefighters Have Tattoos? It Depends…

Should Firefighters Carry Firearms?

It is important to note that we are not taking a position here, but rather laying out the arguments for and against firefighters being permitted to carry firearms.

The Arguments Against Firefighters Carrying Guns

There are many good arguments against firefighters carrying firearms or guns while on duty including:

  • Guns are heavy. Sure, a gun is not so heavy to stop a police officer from doing their duty but a police officer doesn’t need to carry a firefighter’s turnout gear to do their job. Given that this can weigh up to 70 lbs. by itself, is it a good idea to add more weight “just in case”? This argument can also apply to the use of body armor.
  • Firefighters are meant to save lives not to take them. This can, of course, be interpreted as an argument for carrying weapons on duty too. After all, if a firefighter responds to a scene with an individual who is violent, they might be better placed to serve the public if that individual were neutralized. However, as an over-riding point of principle, guns are more often used to take lives rather than save them.
  • The potential conflict with other gun safety regulations. Firefighters need to learn a lot of skills in order to carry out their work to a high standard. Is it a good idea to expect them to learn both gun safety and all the associated laws around them?
  • The possibility that guns might make a scene more dangerous. The sight of a gun might bring out the worst in a member of the public and transform a peaceful scene into a dangerous one.
  • The need for additional training. If firefighters carry guns they will need to be trained in their use and there will need to be training for officers in the strategic use of firearms within the fire service. This will come at a cost and may distract from other work within the fire department.
  • Some individuals will not want to carry a firearm. If firefighters start to carry guns, will all firefighters have to carry them? What if an individual is morally opposed to doing so?

The Arguments For Firefighters Carrying Guns

There are also strong arguments in favor of carrying guns while on duty including:

  • The Second Amendment. Should firefighters be denied their constitutional right to bear arms when they are on duty? This is, of course, a legal minefield and we’re not claiming to know the ins and outs of constitutional law here.
  • The right to self-defense. Why should any firefighter or EMT have to endure a physical assault or worse while they carry out their job?
  • The ability to protect the public. It’s not just firefighters who get attacked at the scenes of emergencies, would guns enable firefighters to better serve the public?

This is, of course, a complex issue and there will be many arguments and debates over which route the fire services should take regarding carrying firearms.

(Video) Bills would allow firefighters, medics to carry guns on duty

Fortunately, these discussions are above our current pay grade, so, we’ll wait to see what arises and where and then adapt as necessary.

Here is another look at this issue:

Are There Armed Firefighters?

Yes, while firefighters in civilian life including those who fight wildfires do not tend to carry guns or firearms, there is one group of firefighters that are armed all the time – military firefighters.

These firefighters carry out similar duties to regular firefighters in the main, they are there to fight fires, respond to medical emergencies, and occasionally clean up spills of hazardous materials.

They may also be called upon to assist with civilian fire departments if major incidents occur.

However, all members of the armed forces may also be called to fight if necessary and this includes support personnel such as firefighters, thus, they are armed as a matter of course.

Some would point to the existence of military firefighters as a strong argument in favor of arming civilian firefighters, but we would note that ordinary civilians are not used to taking orders or being in the presence of armed men and the two situations are not necessarily comparable.

Do Army Firefighters See Combat?

All Army Firefighters attend the same level of basic combat training as all other members of the army and this lasts for 10 weeks.

They don’t train army firefighters in combat for nothing, and it is possible that an army firefighter might, in certain situations, be called upon to fight.

(Video) Firefighters packing heat

This is not the main thrust of their duties, however, and it is also possible for an army firefighter to go their entire career without ever being asked to engage with an enemy.

Some say that an army firefighter’s life can be better than a civilian’s due to the benefits are given to members of the armed forces.

What Military Branch Is Best For Firefighters?

Given that we’re not in any branch of the armed forces, we haven’t got any personal experience of military firefighting to call upon.

However, the vast majority of firefighters in the military seem to be in the Navy and the Air Force, so if you’re sure that you want to join the military to become a firefighter, it’s likely that these two service branches will offer more opportunity.

From this Quora discussion, we can see that there are a lot of people out there that feel the best firefighting branch of the military is the Navy due to the nature of the Navy’s work.

Navy firefighters will be required to be armed as they conduct their duties.

Can EMTs Carry Guns?

In most states, it is not legal for EMTs to carry guns while on duty though some states have passed legislation allowing first responders of all stripes to carry firearms now.

However, there’s a broad ground level feeling of support that EMTs and paramedics ought to be able to carry guns given the increasing threats to them in the field.

But, as you can imagine, there’s a lot of strong feeling in the profession that EMTs and other medical staff ought to “do no harm” and instead of carrying weapons, they should rely on police officers to support them in dangerous times.

Again, we are not offering an opinion as to which side in this debate is correct, we’re just highlighting the controversial nature of the conversation.

(Video) Firefighters and EMTs could soon conceal-carry firearms

Can Paramedics Carry Guns?

Paramedics are, of course, in a similar boat to EMTs and in the vast majority of the United States, paramedics are not permitted to carry guns while on duty.

Again, this is changing in certain states and Texas and Kansas both allow paramedics to carry guns while on duty.

Do SWAT Medics Carry Guns?

SWAT medics are often the subject of specific legislation which allows them to carry weapons even if other first responders are unable to do so.

For example, in Green, Ohio, a tactical paramedic may carry a handgun when asked to assist a SWAT team.

And in Florida, Ron DeSantis, in 2019, signed a law allowing medical personnel assigned to SWAT duties to carry firearms too.

However, we should note that many companies dedicated to providing medical services are resistant to this idea and, for example, Sunstar Paramedics and its parent company in Florida, have declined to allow their medics to carry when on SWAT duties.

Sources

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

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(Video) Should firefighters be able to carry firearms on duty?

FAQs

Do firefighters carry guns in us? ›

Are There Armed Firefighters? Yes, while firefighters in civilian life including those who fight wildfires do not tend to carry guns or firearms, there is one group of firefighters that are armed all the time – military firefighters.

Can Emts carry guns in Texas? ›

A bill recently passed in the 87th Texas legislative session, HB No. 1069, will allow first responders in Texas to carry a handgun while on duty. The bill provides details on requirements including training, $1 million liability insurance and approved storage devices for responders and agencies.

Do RAF firefighters carry weapons? ›

Most in the RAF only go near weapons for annual training or issued one for a deployment where it may be carried or stored. Firemen not known for armed combat.

Should firemen carry guns? ›

It is stated in the bureau's operational procedures manual under civil disturbance management (CDM) that “Members of the Bureau of Fire Protection augmentation force shall not carry any kind of firearms or deadly weapons during actual Crowd Dispersal Management operation.”

Does firefighter need gun? ›

The law allows firefighters to carry a gun to help them ward off threats and destruction of government property. Firefighters will be armed with 9mm pistols. The law permits at least 14 firefighters for every BFP regional office and city station to carry a firearm as members of the security and protection unit.

Do tactical paramedics carry guns? ›

GREEN, Ohio — Green tactical paramedics are now permitted to carry handguns when called out to assist the sheriff's SWAT following a change in state law and the urging of Summit County Sheriff Steve Barry.

What guns were used in the movie ambulance? ›

Danny Sharp (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Will Sharp (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) use a Troy M7A1 PDW as their main weapon throughout the movie.

Are firefighters considered military? ›

The fire service is a para-military organization. Many of the common terms in the fire service, such as captain and lieutenant, were taken directly from the military. Words like code, honor, commitment, and integrity are as important to the fire service as they are to the military.

Do firefighters get paid well? ›

As a Trainee Firefighter you'll earn a salary of £27,750 pa including London Weighting. Once fully qualified, your salary will increase to £37,032 p.a. Firefighters also receive great benefits including a pension scheme, childcare support, interest-free loans, training opportunities and a flexible working arrangement.

Are there military firefighters? ›

Job Overview

As an Army Firefighter, you'll have the vital task of protecting peoples' lives and property from fire, much like their civilian counterparts. You'll control and prevent fires, not only in Army structures, but also aboard aircraft and ships.

Why do firefighters carry guns? ›

Should firefighters carry guns? - YouTube

Why do firefighters have guns? ›

We have firefighters getting guns pulled out on them because people don't want to evacuate,” Jake Cagle, operations section chief for California Incident Management, said during a Thursday morning briefing, according to KPIX. “That's just the duality. That's what it is. Not trying to place the blame on the landowners.

Can firefighters carry guns in Michigan? ›

Effective July 1, 2016, EMTs and firefighters can now carry firearms on the job.

What is turnout time? ›

The time interval that starts when the call is created in CAD by a Fire Dispatcher until the initial Fire or EMS2 unit is dispatched. Turnout Time: The time interval between the activation of station alerting devices to when first responders put on their PPE3 and are aboard apparatus and en-route (wheels rolling).

Can EMS concealed carry Florida? ›

Ron DeSantis on June 7, states that while accompanying either a police SWAT or special-response unit, tactical medical professionals may carry firearms in the same manner as a law-enforcement officer and have no duty to retreat when defending themselves or others from harm.

What is Pennsylvania fire police? ›

Fire Police in Pennsylvania are Volunteer Fire Company members, sworn in by the Mayor or Borough Council President, Township supervisor or the local District Justice of the Peace. They come under direct control of the Local Police or State Police (if no local dept is available).

DO civilian medics carry weapons? ›

Geneva Convention protection

In modern times, most combat medics carry a personal weapon, to be used to protect themselves and the wounded or sick in their care. By convention this is limited to small arms (including rifles).

Is ambulance a true story? ›

Ambulance is an action thriller with a completely fictional storyline. Ambulance most definitely isn't based on a true story. The story told in Ambulance is so wild and out of control that it would be quite devastating to learn it was based on something from reality. Way too many scary and dangerous things take place!

Who is Papi in ambulance? ›

Ambulance (2022) - A Martinez as Papi - IMDb.

How much did it cost to make the movie ambulance? ›

Why do some firefighters carry guns? ›

Should firefighters carry guns? - YouTube

Why do firefighters have guns? ›

We have firefighters getting guns pulled out on them because people don't want to evacuate,” Jake Cagle, operations section chief for California Incident Management, said during a Thursday morning briefing, according to KPIX. “That's just the duality. That's what it is. Not trying to place the blame on the landowners.

Are there military firefighters? ›

Job Overview

As an Army Firefighter, you'll have the vital task of protecting peoples' lives and property from fire, much like their civilian counterparts. You'll control and prevent fires, not only in Army structures, but also aboard aircraft and ships.

What is Pennsylvania fire police? ›

Fire Police in Pennsylvania are Volunteer Fire Company members, sworn in by the Mayor or Borough Council President, Township supervisor or the local District Justice of the Peace. They come under direct control of the Local Police or State Police (if no local dept is available).

Can firefighters carry guns in New York? ›

New bill allow firefighters to carry gun when responding to high-risk operations. Paramedics rush in to help the injured during an emergency. Now, they are getting an extra line of defense. A new bill signed by the governor allows them to carry a gun when they are responding to high-risk situations.

Can firefighters carry guns in Michigan? ›

Effective July 1, 2016, EMTs and firefighters can now carry firearms on the job.

Can EMTs carry guns in Tennessee? ›

As introduced, allows firefighters and emergency medical technicians to carry handguns while engaged in the performance of official duties; requires annual completion of a firearm training program. - Amends TCA Title 39, Chapter 17.

What is turnout time? ›

The time interval that starts when the call is created in CAD by a Fire Dispatcher until the initial Fire or EMS2 unit is dispatched. Turnout Time: The time interval between the activation of station alerting devices to when first responders put on their PPE3 and are aboard apparatus and en-route (wheels rolling).

Can EMS concealed carry Florida? ›

Ron DeSantis on June 7, states that while accompanying either a police SWAT or special-response unit, tactical medical professionals may carry firearms in the same manner as a law-enforcement officer and have no duty to retreat when defending themselves or others from harm.

Do firefighters get paid well? ›

As a Trainee Firefighter you'll earn a salary of £27,750 pa including London Weighting. Once fully qualified, your salary will increase to £37,032 p.a. Firefighters also receive great benefits including a pension scheme, childcare support, interest-free loans, training opportunities and a flexible working arrangement.

What Asvab score do I need to be a firefighter? ›

How to Qualify as Army MOS 12M. To become an Army firefighter you need a score of at least 88 on the general mechanical (GM) area of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) tests. You'll also need a valid state driver's license.

What branch of military is easiest to join? ›

At the basic training stage, the easiest military branch to join is the Air Force.

What powers do fire police have? ›

Although they have no authority to make arrests, they do have the right to detain someone, within reason. They have earned the right to wear their 'badge of authority. Fire Police will control the flow of traffic to ensure emergency vehicles have a quick, safe entrance and egress to the incident.

What are firefighters and Police called? ›

What does first responder mean? A first responder is a real-life superhero. They're someone whose job is to respond immediately (first) when there is an accident or emergency. Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), paramedics, firefighters, and police officers are all considered first responders.

What is fire police NY? ›

- New York State fire police provide room for apparatus, emergency vehicles, service vehicles, and firefighters' vehicles to, among other things, park, operate, turn around, perform tanker operations, and lay hose lines for firefighters. To protect the equipment of a fire company.

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