In an era where politicians continue to pick away at our Second Amendment rights, it is rare to see news about expanding gun rights. Typically, the debate about guns tends to be about where to restrict them next. But a new bill in Texas would do something completely different, expand gun rights where previously there were none.
When you’re a first responder your job is unpredictable. Crime, fires and car accidents are the norm. But what happens when those who respond to us in a time of emergency need help themselves?
Several state lawmakers are backing House Bill 982, which would let all first responders in Texas carry guns.
The sponsors of the bill note that first responders often find themselves in dangerous situations without a way to protect themselves:
Lawmakers believe in the less urban areas there’s a high chance that the first responders on the scene will be non-peace officers — such as fire and EMS.
However, not everyone thinks it’s a good idea:
Austin-Travis County EMS sees things a little differently.
Captain Darren Noak says the bill just isn’t a good fit for the department. He believes carrying a gun would add more work to an already stressful job.
“It would be another level of training for us, it would be another level of responsibility and it also doesn’t kind of fit in with our mission,” Noak said.
While allowing first responders to carry guns would require more training, it is a small price to pay to protect those first on the scene. First responders are often called to unpredictable and sometimes violent situations, with little training on how to handle them. Realistically, additional training is long overdue. Giving people the means to protect themselves is just one piece of the puzzle.
Of course, it’s no surprise this legislation originates in Texas, a state with a strong tradition of defending gun rights. However, the success of the measure could cause other states to reevaluate their policies, as states tend to copy each other when things work.
Whether or not the bill has the votes to pass remains to be seen. However, it’s refreshing that an idea that hasn’t received much attention is finally getting the debate it deserves. Everyone has the right to defend themselves, including those that put their lives on the line to save ours.
[Note: This post was written by Michael Lee. Follow him on Twitter @UAMichaelLee]