The gun-carrying for EMS debate is getting stronger down here. It hasn’t totally died down, but for some reason it is becoming more and more of an issue.
I really think that EMS carrying guns is a bad idea. For several reasons.
People call us for help. They don’t call us to protect them, but to help them. Carrying guns on our persons will change the relationship between the public and EMS. I want patients and caregivers to trust that I am there to take care of them, and not there looking for a reason to punish them.
Guns will change the perception that the public will have of us, even if that gun is concealed.
What are we really doing to ensure our safety on scene? How often do we walk straight to the door of a house without even a cursory glance at windows, shrubs, cars, or any other part of a house? Do we walk straight across a broad lawn, or are we in the habit of walking down a driveway? How often do we make our way to a house with our hands full? Is it not a good idea to keep a hand free, in case something bad goes down? Do we allow people inside homes to get between us and the door? Do we even notice when people get between us and the door? Do we look for other methods of egress when we walk into a house? Do we really perform an assessment on our patients, touching their body, looking for something wrong with the patient, and something on the patient that shouldn’t be? How often do we practice contact and cover?
Does every provider in EMS even ask one of those questions? Ever? Or are we complacent?
Slimm and I have safety plans, and we have discussed these things. We have two wives and 6 children between us, and we are going home at the end of the day. We have a safe word, and we are willing to do whatever it takes to get both of us out of any situation. That is also a benefit of working together for a few years now.
We trust ourselves, yet we still don’t trust each other with guns. We know that if something bad went down, and a gun was involved, the chances of neither one of us going home at the end of the shift is much higher.
We are both comfortable with guns. I carry, both concealed and open, virtually all the time when I am off duty. I own several firearms, and I train with them. I am a good shot, and safe. I can, and have, shoot well enough to qualify with my handgun at a police qualification. But this isn’t about my resume’.
I want you to think about this: Imagine every person you’ve ever worked with in EMS. Every person at your service, or your department, or in your hospital, or whatever. Even that guy with the short temper and the bad attitude. We all know and work with a jerk with a bad attitude. Take out a piece of paper, and write down the names of the 5 coworkers who are most likely to create a violent incident.
Now, do you trust your life to that coworker? Do you trust that coworker to change his ways, minimize emotions, and react rationally to a scene? You’ve never met me, do you trust me with a gun on your scene?
Or do you just want to be a badass and carry a gun on your ankle?