Ohio House to consider bill to allow tactical medics to carry firearms during SWAT situations

Posted at 5:12 PM, Sep 15, 2017

In the coming days the Ohio House will consider House Bill 79, a new law which would allow tactical medics to carry firearms during SWAT situations.

Under the bill, the tactical medics must pass extensive training with their local law enforcement before carrying a gun.

But in Parma, their SWAT medic team has been carrying firearms for nearly ten years thanks to a local ordnance.

Ricky Fetter, a member of the SWAT medic team, said in today's society you don't know what you're getting into with a SWAT call so carrying a firearm adds another layer of protection. 

"We have to be able to defend ourselves," Fetter said. "I think people are starting to realize that in today’s world. It’s very dangerous."

Fetter also said it could cut back on the number of errors made by trained medics who are standing shoulder to shoulder with armed SWAT officers.

“If they don’t have that confidence, ‘hey I got something on me to help protect me they might make a mistake. They might let their guard down a little bit," Fetter said.

If the law passes, only tactical medics who've passed training would be allowed to carry a firearm -- not paramedics who respond to every day calls. 

A move fireman T.J. Martin said is smart.

Martin said he doesn't believe every day paramedics need to carry a gun.

"Every time you leave the station you're putting yourself in harms way. However, we're precautionary," Martin said. "We work very well with our police department, where if the situation does seem a little tenable we will wait until the police department arrives to take control of the scene." 

The bill saw the Ohio Senate floor earlier this week and passed unanimously.

It will go to the Ohio House floor for consideration.