HB 48: Concealed Carry/Emergency Medical Personnel
North Carolinians Against Gun Violence strongly opposes HB 48, Concealed Carry/Emergency Medical Personnel. The bill would exempt from the concealed carry prohibition certain emergency medical services personnel while on duty providing tactical medical assistance to law enforcement in an emergency situation.
- EMS personnel’s responsibility is to respond to emergencies and deliver medical care. Police are responsible for public safety at emergencies. EMS responders should be entirely focused on providing care. They should not be worrying about using a weapon or keeping their gun secured.
- EMS workers are often the first point of contact to individuals undergoing a mental health crisis. Their aim is to de-escalate and provide care, not escalate with a gun. Guns often escalate responding to a mental health crisis and can lead to a shooting. A Washington Post analysis of police shootings from 2015 to 2019 found that around a quarter of the people shot by police had a mental illness, and that these shootings are 39% more likely to occur in cities with fewer than one million people.1 Given that all NC cities are under one million people,2 these data are especially problematic for our state. Expanding interactions between individuals undergoing a mental health crisis and armed responders increases the likelihood of unnecessary fatal shootings.
- Knowing that EMS personnel may be armed may make individuals less likely to seek support when they need it, especially in communities where distrust of armed officers is high.
Allowing on duty EMS personnel to carry a concealed firearm also conflicts with NC law and related Medical Board guidance. According to NC General Statutes 131E-155 definition: “Emergency medical services means services rendered by emergency medical services personnel in responding to improve the health and wellness of the community and to address the individual’s need for emergency medical care within the scope of practice as defined by the North Carolina Medical Board in accordance with G.S. 143-514 in order to prevent loss of life or further aggravation of physiological or psychological illness or injury.”
1 Kindy K, Tate J, Jenkins J, Mellnik T. Fatal police shootings of mentally ill people are 39 percent more likely to take place in small and midsized areas. Washington Post. 2020 Oct 17. , https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/police-mentally-ill-deaths/2020/10/17/8dd5bcf6-0245-11eb-b7ed-141dd88560ea_story.html
2 U.S. Census Bureau. “QuickFacts: Charlotte city, North Carolina; Raleigh city, North Carolina; Greensboro city, North Carolina; Durham city, North Carolina; Winston-Salem city, North Carolina; Fayetteville city, North Carolina” https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/charlottecitynorthcarolina,raleighcitynorthcarolina,greensborocitynorthcaroli-na,durhamcitynorthcarolina,winstonsalemcitynorthcarolina,fayettevillecitynorthcarolina/PST045219