While I agree with the sentiment of House Bill #288, I have 3 words for the creators of this bill, "WAY WRONG ANSWER!" My understanding of this bill is that when medical personnel are present at a SWAT scene they may have guns distributed to them for their safety... You've got to be kidding me.
Guns are not teddy bears, you can't just hand them out to make people feel safer. People who normally don't carry guns won't automatically gain the skills and mindset necessary to use them simply because the situation may be dangerous.
While I'm glad they're not forcing EMT's to carry guns (+.001 for not being utterly stupid) I don't see why they're limiting carrying guns to SWAT encounters. If they're going to allow medics to carry guns at all, why limit the scope? Seems like it would be more appropriate for medics to have guns when SWAT wasn't around. Also, if the effing SWAT team can't keep them safe, why are they (both SWAT & EMTs) there?
Another concern is that the bill continually uses the phrase "tactical emergency medical technician" (TEMT?) and the connotation seems to temporarily elevate medics to members of a SWAT team. Because what our government really needs is more tactical employees! It also grants EMTs the same protections as a police officer, which doesn't make me feel all warm and fuzzy given it doesn't mention any training / oversight.
Here's a crazy thought: Why not allow EMTs with CCW permits to carry while on shift? That would allow inclined EMTs to protect themselves while guaranteeing basic training and personal responsibility. I can understand an employer's reticence to change policy given the over-abundance of lawyers; however, if a medic has to shoot someone, who (s)he works for is no longer pertinent - they had to defend their life. No one should hold a liquor store responsible if the cashier has to ventilate a cretin due to personal threat, so why should someone hold an ambulance company responsible if their medic does the same thing?
Of course there would have to be legal tweaking for them to carry in school zones, no-weapons zones, etc. But wouldn't that be a perfect opportunity to push for all CCW holders to be allowed to carry in school zones and the like? (ready the trebuchet and the pig - we'll make it fly)
So, the bill's a nice thought but a non-solution to the problem of EMTs entering dangerous areas to render aid. Please try again Rep. Combs, etc.; I'd really like to see more people be allowed to protect themselves - just not in the way you're proposing.