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    27 Mar 2017

    EMTs, firefighters need guns, Texas lawmakers say

    Texas lawmakers introduced legislation last week to allow the state’s first responders to carry a handgun while on duty, KXAN reported.
    The proposed legislation would make it possible for firefighters and Emergency Medical Services personnel who have firearms permits to carry their guns during normal shifts.
    “You never really know what you’re getting into,” said Capt. Rick Rutledge, of the Austin-Travis County EMS. “There are certainly risks.”
    House Bill 435 also allows for volunteer emergency workers to carry guns. The bill, according to the station, will not require any further training for those who are already licensed to carry firearms.
    “You have to assume it’s like a driver’s license,” said State Rep. Dan Flynn, a Republican. “You know how to drive before you get a license; you know how to shoot a gun before you get a license.”
    Still, Rutledge questions if the bill will really help the state’s first-responders to remain safe.
    “Protecting that weapon, limiting liability, knowing when to use and not use that. It is a specialized area and a course of training that we haven’t had,” Rutledge said.
    Chris Barron, the executive director of the State Firefighters’ and Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas, echoed the sentiment: “We are not trained in law enforcement.”
    Flynn told KXAN that “hostility towards first responders” is the reason for the bill.
    “What we’re finding out is often, someone will set up an attack, they’ll set up a fire just to go after people that they don’t like,” he said.
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