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.
HB 48 is dangerous for the following reasons:
- EMS’s responsibility is to respond to emergencies and deliver medical care. The police are responsible for public safety at emergencies, not EMS. EMS gun carrying can interfere with their duties. EMS emergency response should entirely focus on providing care. They should not be worried about keeping their gun secured.
- EMS 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. We know that responding to a mental health crisis with a gun often escalates the situation and can lead to a shooting. We also know that those suffering from mental illness are disproportionately shot by police. For example, in 2020 police shot and killed 8 people in North Carolina who had a known mental illness. Expanding the number of interactions between individuals undergoing a mental health crisis and armed responders increases the likelihood of unnecessary fatal shootings.
- Knowing that EMS may be armed when responding to a crisis may make individuals feel less likely to reach out for support when they need it, especially within Black communities where distrust of law enforcement is high.
According to definition in North Carolina General Statutes 131E-155: “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.” Allowing EMS personnel to carry a concealed firearm while on the job is in conflict with this definition.