RICHMOND, Va. — Firefighters and EMTs could carry concealed weapons while on duty under a bill the Virginia Senate narrowly passed Tuesday.
The measure, sponsored by Sen. Amanda F. Chase (R-Chesterfield), would require emergency personnel to obtain the usual concealed-carry permit as well as permission from the local fire or emergency medical chief. Moreover, the local elected governing body would also have to grant approval, reported The Washington Post.
Chase, who drew attention this year for wearing a gun on her hip on the Senate floor, is the mother of an EMT. The lawmaker said emergency responders called to the scene of a volatile emergency — such as an active shooting — might need to defend themselves, particularly in rural areas where sheriff’s deputies are spread thin and sometimes slow to arrive.
Predictably, Democrats opposed the measure. The opposition was led by Sen. Jeremy S. McPike (D-Prince William), a volunteer firefighter in Dale City, who warned that arming firefighters and EMTs without training would pose a danger and create a legal liability.
The measure now goes to the House, which killed a similar bill last year.