NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE — A petition is circulating amongst first responders in the State of Tennessee which would allow them to carry a concealed firearm on the job. First responders are sometimes the very first people on the scene of an active emergency — sometimes arriving well before police. This means that in potentially deadly situations, they have no means to protect their own lives.
“I have had several guns and knives pulled on me throughout the years and one time when I worked in Unicoi, we were held at gun point,” said one 30-year veteran first responder.
Even as first responders fight for their right to defend themselves, some see the introduction of armed first responders as having the potential to increase violence. But, is it violence that can be mitigated through just training?
“I’ve seen a big switch over the years to where it is becoming more violent, you see a lot more violence than you used to,” Hensley said.
While police and law enforcement are allowed to defend themselves, first responders are often held to a different set of expectations. With their main priority being first aid, triage, stabilization, and transport, they are often placed into impossible situations with little or no backup.
A right afforded to nearly every Tennessean with a concealed carry permit is something largely prohibited in many county-run first responder agencies.
What are your thoughts in having first responders have the ability to carry a handgun and protect themselves in the event their lives are threatened?
The full petition can be read here.