Could a proposed bill allow first responders to carry guns? - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Could a proposed bill allow first responders to carry guns?

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TYLER (KYTX) - Firefighters and paramedics could be next on the list of people the state allows to carry guns on the job.

That's if a bill proposed by a law maker from the panhandle is passed.

As it's written, it would only apply in small, rural counties, but that could change.

The state representative who's proposing bill 1531 told me it's a very popular.

But East Texas EMS based here in Tyler is against the idea.

Sirens and flashing lights are familiar to those who work on ambulances in East Texas.

But the idea of carrying a gun is a bit foreign.

"We definitely rely on law enforcement agencies to come in and secure the scene if we feel like there's a need for that," says Jeff Akin with East Texas EMS.

East Texas EMS is a large company that provides services for 15 counties in the state, including much of East Texas and many rural areas.

"At any given time we have 106 ambulances in service with 2 medics on board," says Akin.

Akin says paramedics carrying a gun could be dangerous.

If a paramedic were to reach over a patient in a gurney, that person would be within reach of any weapon they might have.

"A lot of times our fire fighters in rural Texas are also our volunteers on ambulance or other capacities," says State Representative Ken King.

Representative King from Canadian, Texas in the panhandle says the idea of the bill came from a volunteer fire fighter in a rural area.

But King took that idea and extended it to all first responders.

"I bracketed it to apply to counties of 50,000 or less population, I've had a lot of people from urban areas asking me to pull the bracket off of it," says King.

"This makes sense when we are in the middle of nowhere and something occurs on scene," says Kevin Grant, the Cooke County Emergency Medical Services Director.

Some North Texas county services agree.

Still, East Texas EMS says the risks outweigh the benefits.

"Sometimes we have mental health patients or someone under the influence of alcohol or drugs that have to deal with. At times they become combative," says Akin.

Akin says they will be contacting local state representatives to give their opinions on the bill.

More than 100 of the states 254 counties have less than 50,000 people.

Representative King's bill has been referred to the Homeland Security Committee.

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