Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Is Arming EMS Defensive – Comment

In response to Is Arming EMS Defensive, there is this comment from Another medic from Texas

Many of us are sensible, level-headed, patient people. We’re not easily angered & we tolerate abuse from our patients without believing our lives to be in danger.

What is logical about assuming that having a gun, or knife, is going to improve the outcome of an EMS call?.

we’re logical people who wouldn’t want that on our conscience unless it’s perfectly clear that the other option was face death ourselves.

How does having a gun, or knife, hidden somewhere on your body change the life or death option for the better?

How does having your partner draw a gun and start shooting, or draw a knife and start swinging it around, improve anyone’s safety?

I’ve never had to use my weapon, though it is on my person at all times when not specifically forbidden by law.

That must make for interesting showers.

Why should my right to protect my LIFE be restricted while on-duty?

I don’t think that having EMS carry weapons improves anyone’s safety. Not even your safety.

I’m no LESS likely to be assaulted/murdered/witness a Columbine/Virginia Tech/Ft. Hood incident while on duty than off…

Based on what?

If that were the case, I would expect the rate of EMS personnel murdered on duty to be similar to the rate of murder for the general public.

Our death rate from motor vehicle collisions is high, but our rate of being murdered is so low that it is almost always zero.

Please provide some evidence that EMS personnel are being murdered.

so why not have a few concealed handguns within reach of calm, responsible, alert folks who know how to use them?

To defend against what?

If we are calm, responsible, alert folks then why do we need guns or knives?

Why should I have to be a helpless, defenseless victim?


Without a gun, you are a helpless, defenseless victim?


I am not a psychiatrist, but I do not see this as any kind of healthy attitude.

I do not own any guns, but I do not consider myself a helpless, defenseless victim.

Too often, I see an EMS call going from nice and calm to a confrontation because someone wants to assert authority. I expect that you work with some of the same people.

Image credit.

These are not people I want to see carrying any weapon when they are trying to assert the authority that they should not be asserting. I definitely do not want to be between them and any patient, or family member, or bystander, when they decide that they want to fumble around in their clothing and try to retrieve their gun, or knife.

I do not see that there is any danger to EMS that justifies having EMS carry weapons.



  1. Well for starters if you wont it to be taken serious on the topic you should not use a south park caracter to advertise the topic bad choice

  2. Fallacy: Appeal to Ridicule

    Also Known as: Appeal to Mockery, The Horse Laugh.
    Description of Appeal to Ridicule

    The Appeal to Ridicule is a fallacy in which ridicule or mockery is substituted for evidence in an “argument.” This line of “reasoning” has the following form:

    X, which is some form of ridicule is presented (typically directed at the claim).
    Therefore claim C is false.

    This sort of “reasoning” is fallacious because mocking a claim does not show that it is false. This is especially clear in the following example: “1+1=2! That’s the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard!”

    • A Sound Mind,

      You would be correct, if all I had done was to post an image.

      You have not responded to anything I wrote.

      You are the one presenting a logical fallacy. Feel free to attempt a valid argument.


    • A Sound Mind,

      (1). The Cartman image is an appropriate response IMHO to the fallacious appeal to emotion that “another medic from Texas” makes. Or are you saying that portraying himself as “a helpless, defenseless victim” is a logical argument?

      (2). There is considerably more to the blog post than the image. Would you care to contribute to the discussion, or merely snipe at isolated images? If you don’t care to discuss in this thread, perhaps in the preceding blog post where this originated?

  3. Great topic, and great points. I’m not sure exactly what has led to so many EMS providers thinking that we’re in dire need of firearms, or that they are the solution to our safety issues, but I applaud you for standing firm alongside reason.

    We’re not there to fight, if there is a fight, we need to retreat, not attempt to fight back. It’s not in our mission or our training to respond to violent attacks with violence.

    I wonder what a law enforcement officer’s take would be on this issue?

  4. There is no reason EMS personnel should be armed unless you work within a few specific areas such as tactical medicine with SWAT.

    Primum non nocere or “First, do no harm” is a principal of medical ethics within this country and held strong with EMS around the globe. Just as physicians take the Hippocratic Oath we should do the same. I stand strongly by the EMT Code of Ethics written by Steve Whitehead.

    “Professional status as an Emergency Medical Technician and Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic is maintained and enriched by the willingness of the individual practitioner to accept and fulfill obligations to society, other medical professionals, and the profession of Emergency Medical Technician. As an Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic, I solemnly pledge myself to the following code of professional ethics:

    A fundamental responsibility of the Emergency Medical Technician is to conserve life, to alleviate suffering, to promote health, to do no harm, and to encourage the quality and equal availability of emergency medical care.

    The Emergency Medical Technician provides services based on human need, with respect for human dignity, unrestricted by consideration of nationality, race creed, color, or status.

    The Emergency Medical Technician does not use professional knowledge and skills in any enterprise detrimental to the public well being.

    The Emergency Medical Technician respects and holds in confidence all information of a confidential nature obtained in the course of professional work unless required by law to divulge such information.

    The Emergency Medical Technician, as a citizen, understands and upholds the law and performs the duties of citizenship; as a professional, the Emergency Medical Technician has the never-ending responsibility to work with concerned citizens and other health care professionals in promoting a high standard of emergency medical care to all people.

    The Emergency Medical Technician shall maintain professional competence and demonstrate concern for the competence of other members of the Emergency Medical Services health care team.

    An Emergency Medical Technician assumes responsibility in defining and upholding standards of professional practice and education.

    The Emergency Medical Technician assumes responsibility for individual professional actions and judgment, both in dependent and independent emergency functions, and knows and upholds the laws which affect the practice of the Emergency Medical Technician.

    An Emergency Medical Technician has the responsibility to be aware of and participate in matters of legislation affecting the Emergency Medical Service System.

    The Emergency Medical Technician, or groups of Emergency Medical Technicians, who advertise professional service, do so in conformity with the dignity of the profession.

    The Emergency Medical Technician has an obligation to protect the public by not delegating to a person less qualified, any service which requires the professional competence of an Emergency Medical Technician

    The Emergency Medical Technician will work harmoniously with and sustain confidence in Emergency Medical Technician associates, the nurses, the physicians, and other members of the Emergency Medical Services health care team.

    The Emergency Medical Technician refuses to participate in unethical procedures, and assumes the responsibility to expose incompetence or unethical conduct of others to the appropriate authority in a proper and professional manner.”

  5. I’ve heard that – when the Irish/English troubles were hot – calls for an ambulance were sent in UN-ESCORTED – to verify the call then the police/army would go in. The ambulance /crews were considered ‘safe/neutral’ neither side would fire upon them.
    I’ve ridden for 25+ yrs. don’t know many (if any) partners I’d want to see armed!