State Sen. Ed Hooper wants some medical professionals to be able to carry guns while they’re on duty.
The first-term Senator filed a bill Tuesday that would grant trained gun owners in certain medical professions some of the same rights as law enforcement officers.
It would not automatically grant any authority to paramedics or doctors to carry weapons. The bill requires applicable professionals to undergo training and to meet a rigorous set of requirements.
The bill (SB 722) would apply to paramedics or doctors who work on high-risk incidents and who are “actively operating in direct support of tactical operations by a law enforcement agency.”
The bill would apply to active shooter, hostage, bomb, high-risk felony warrant, narcotics or dangerous surveillance situations, among others.
To qualify, the medical professional would have to be lawfully allowed to possess a firearm and have an active concealed weapons permit.
The head of a law enforcement agency the doctor or paramedic is partnered with would have to appoint them to a tactical team within that agency.
To participate, law enforcement agencies would have to establish policies for appointing, training and deploying armed medical professionals and would have to require annual firearm safety and tactical training.
Hooper’s bill is identical to a House bill (HB 487) filed last month by Winter Springs Republican Rep. David Smith. That bill is awaiting debate in the House Judiciary Committee and the Criminal Justice and Health Quality subcommittees.
Hooper’s bill has not been referred to any committees yet.
Similar measures are gaining traction nationwide as first responders or groups representing them continue to raise concerns about safety on dangerous sites, though not all first responders agree with such measures.
Ohio already has a similar law in place and a Tennessee state lawmaker filed a bill the same day Hooper did. Other states including Texas, Georgia, Kansas and New York have also considered EMS carry bills.