CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE)- Paramedics could soon be carrying guns if a bill is passed by North Carolina lawmakers.
The bill would allow paramedics to carry concealed firearms only when responding to tactical calls when law enforcement is on the scene as well.
“It’s for emergency medical service personnel who are on the job with law enforcement. And again, it’s law enforcement’s duty to provide for public safety and not medical service workers,” Becky Crooker Ceartas said. “And so, this is something that is just simply not needed.”
Ceartas is the Executive Director at North Carolinians Against Gun Violence and she says not only is this bill not needed but it would cause more distrust among the community.
“There is already distrust in some communities of armed officers, and now would there be distrust of armed paramedics? And maybe not calling for help when they need it,” she said.
Salisbury Republican Harry Warren sponsored the bill. He says the legislation is because of a paramedic, who is normally sent to calls with a SWAT team.
“We wouldn’t want to see more guns in a situation where it’s really meant to deescalate and figure out how to best provide medical services rather than escalating the situation with a gun.”
If the bill passes, it would go into effect this July and would also require extensive training for paramedics who qualify for the program, but it is getting some opposition from Democrats in the House, so there’s no telling yet on whether or not it will pass.
MEDIC sent FOX 46 a statement Thursday afternoon, saying they are closely following House Bill 48, but generally speaking, their agency is firmly against guns being on ambulances within their EMS system,