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

- Rogue Medic

Is Arming EMS Defensive

What are the threats to EMS?

Earlier, I wrote Arming EMS – Defensive or Simply Offensive about EMS feeling the need for guns to deal with violence.

Clearly EMS needs guns.


Paramedics arrived and the boy was again verbally abusive, and they restrained him before taking him to Huntington Memorial Hospital. As they loosened the restraints at the emergency room, the boy punched a paramedic in the face before he was again restrained.[1]

A gun would have stopped this punch.

During this portion of the transport, Lovern managed to pull out the IV and blood spurted forth. Crager grabbed Lovern’s arm to stem the flow of blood. Lovern scratched Crager’s wrists and spit at her while Crager was attempting to stop the bleeding.[2]

A gun would have stopped this spit.

A MAN drunk after a night out spat in a paramedic’s mouth because she disagreed that he was having an asthma attack.[3]

A gun would have stopped this spitting.

Acting operations manager Simon Cooper says an ambulance was called to an address in Elliot Street and the paramedic was punched in the face when he got out of the vehicle.[4]

A gun would have stopped this punch.

A Cottonwood man who authorities say intentionally rammed his pickup into an occupied ambulance parked at Mercy Medical Center in Redding on Saturday night has been arrested, Redding authorities said today.[5]

A gun would have stopped this pickup truck.

A mother-of-two has been convicted of an alcohol-fuelled attack on two paramedics – sinking her nails into one and pushing over the other as they tried to help her.[6]

A gun would have stopped the nails and stopped the push.

Then there is this –

An Osceola County Fire Rescue paramedic has been arrested on charges of attacking a Polk County deputy sheriff who was protecting a psychiatric patient patient from the outraged firefighter,[7]

Is this a medic who is endangered by a lack of firepower?


[1] Drunk student punched paramedic at school, police say
March 8, 2012 | 11:19 am

[2] State v. Lovern
No. 66018-7-I.
Court of Appeals of Washington, Division I.
Filed: March 5, 2012.

[3] Drunk man spat at paramedic
1:10pm Thursday 1st March 2012
By Matthew Hobbs
This Is Cheshire

[4] Ambulance officers angered by attack on paramedic
By Gail Liston
Posted February 22, 2012 16:34:40
ABC News

[5] Suspect in assault on Redding medical personnel arrested
February 12, 2012
Sacramento Bee
by Loretta Kalb

[6] Woman clawed arm of paramedic in attack after drinking session
by Gareth Mcpherson
Published: 20/02/2012 08:14 – Updated: 20/02/2012 14:23

[7] Paramedic Accused Of Flipping Out On Patient, Deputy
March 5, 2012
FireFighting News



  1. Very well said. I live in Texas and I have a concealed handgun license but I tend to think that a gun in most of my fellow medics out in the field would be a bad thing. Guns for all has not diminished the amount of violence out in the real world. We recently had a shooting in our area where a cop shot a student who was brandishing a pellet gun in school. The tension throughout the area was amazing with some calling on the officer to be charged with murder, I could only imagine what it would be like if a medic makes the same mistake. Or one much worse.

  2. 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. We don’t go “looking for trouble” just because we know we’d come out on top… 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. I’ve never had to use my weapon, though it is on my person at all times when not specifically forbidden by law. Why should my right to protect my LIFE be restricted while on-duty? I’m no LESS likely to be assaulted/murdered/witness a Columbine/Virginia Tech/Ft. Hood incident while on duty than off… so why not have a few concealed handguns within reach of calm, responsible, alert folks who know how to use them? Why should I have to be a helpless, defenseless victim?

    • Where is the weapon going to be kept?

      In a gun safe on the ambulance? I’ve been told that some Departments of Public Safety (police and fire rolled into one dept.) have such safes on their engines, so that is a possibility.

      On your person? How will you keep it secure when starting an IV, putting a patient on O2, or attaching a 12-lead? How much will having to adapt your positioning to protect the weapon affect your patient care? It’ll certainly be no secret if/when EMS are allowed to carry guns; how many criminals or psych patients will take a chance and grab at whatever pocket looks big enoughntomhold a gun?

      It’s not a question of whether EMS “deserve” or “can handle” carrying a gun. Carrying a gun on our person conflicts with our duties and actions (especially proximity to patient/threat) as primary care providers.

    • I agree with you 100%!

  3. Next time you write an article, you should be a good reporter and post from both sides. You’re only posting about minor incidents. How about all the EMS personell who have been killed because they didn’t have anything to defend themselves with? The PD is there for our protection: correct, however, once the patient is in the back of that ambulance with no PD around, we’re on our own. Concealed carry should be allowed, with proper training. Work in the neighborhoods I run in, and you’ll understand.


    • Scott,

      Are you seriously wanting a gun in the back of the ambulance??. That is absolutely insane. I’ve done prisoner transfers many times (jail to ED and state prison to hospital), and the guard who rides along NEVER carries his gun wih him. There is a chase car with an armed guard following us; but in the confined space of the ambulance, trying to use a handgun is insane.

      As I said above, because we must be in close proximity to the patients wih both hands occupied, carrying a gun conflicts wih our role as patient care providers.

      Also, could you reference some of those line of duty deaths from violence you mention? I’ve seen plenty of LODD from auto vs. EMTs, but don’t remember any due to gun or knife.

      • Mpatk,

        How confident are you with that guards ability to function with their weapon i ride transports all the time and I’ve come across this question in my own mind sooo I’ve asked many of them about it and have had very mixed results some are very competent with their firearm they know what caliber it is the effective range of that caliber and know how to shoot reliably but… On the other hand I’ve had more that have no clue of caliber and range they just shoot their 6 bullets a month that someone else loads for them and i have even had a few guards openly admit they are against shooting people because its inhumane or they are scared of the gun

        My question to you is how lucky do u feel? If you were to be in a hostage situation how confident are you that the guard you have is a decent enough shooter and won’t shoot you let alone even pull the trigger

        Not saying there should be a gun in back of the bus but what’s so wrong with a little protection?

        • Matt,

          You seem to misunderstand what mpatk wrote.

          He stated that the corrections officer in the back of the ambulance is not armed.

          You make a great point about not knowing how good a shot any person is, whether they will shoot the right person, or whether they will draw a gun, not shoot, and essentially hand over their gun to an attacker.

          These are reasons to keep guns out of ambulances.

          Guns in ambulances are not protection.


    • Scott,

      How about all the EMS personell who have been killed because they didn’t have anything to defend themselves with?

      Feel free to provide the many examples of all the EMS personell who have been killed because they didn’t have anything to defend themselves with.

      Work in the neighborhoods I run in, and you’ll understand.

      If I work in your neighborhood, I will misunderstand.

      Isn’t that what you mean?

      What is it about your neighborhood that alters reality?

      Since you are a reporter, you should be able to provide dozens of examples of all the EMS personell who have been killed because they didn’t have anything to defend themselves with.

      You could have done that, but you chose to while.

      Less whining, more evidence.


  4. Corrupt or dishonest 1. An unprincipled, deceitful, and unreliable person; a scoundrel or rascal.2. One who is playfully mischievous; a scamp.3. A wandering beggar; or vagrant………… Jw how do u describe yourself “rogue medic???

    • Matt,

      I do not accept the conventional explanations and attitudes. I think for myself.

      Your definitions are what would be applied to me by those who defend the status quo and discourage thinking about what we do.

      If you are very conventional and do what you are told without thinking, you have my condolences.