TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CBS Local) — A new law allowing medics to carry a gun when responding to high-risk situations such as active gunman incidents and drug raids went into effect Monday.
Florida House Bill 487, which was signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis on June 7, states that while accompanying either a police SWAT or special-response unit, tactical medical professionals may carry firearms in the same manner as a law-enforcement officer.
The new law requires the paramedics to have concealed-weapons licenses and for law enforcement agencies to establish training and deployment policies.
Senator Ed Hooper, who proposed a similar bill in the state Senate, said the law was needed following a series of massacres in the Sunshine State.
“This bill comes from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, a bank in Sebring, a Fort Lauderdale airport where mass tragedies have occurred and those medics are usually standing right behind the officer that they are assigned to,” he said. “And they are there with every drug that can keep you alive if they survive, without having anything to defend themselves.”
High-risk operations are defined, but not limited to, in the bill as and active shooter situations, hostage incidents, narcotics raids, hazardous surveillance, sniper incidents, armed suicidal persons, high risk felony warrants and barricaded subjects.
States including Kansas and Ohio already have emergency responder-firearm laws in place. Similar bills have been proposed in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Virginia.