Florida House Bill 487, which was signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis on June 7, allows all “tactical medical professionals” to carry firearms when accompanying police SWAT or special-response units, the Palm Beach Post reported. Tactical medical professionals, which include paramedics, physicians or osteopathic physicians, must have concealed-weapons licenses and complete firearms safety and tactical training with a law-enforcement agency.
The law allows trained medics to carry a gun to active shooter situations, hostage incidents, narcotics raids, hazardous surveillance, sniper incidents, armed suicidal persons, high risk felony warrants and barricaded subjects and well as other high-risk operations, CBS Local reported.
Medics responding to routine medical emergency calls and traffic stops will not be allowed to carry a gun under the new law, Chris Kammel, the EMS bureau chief of rescue for Martin County Fire Rescue, told the newspaper.
When introducing a similar bill to the state senate in February, Sen. Ed Hooper, a Republican, cited recent tragedies at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, a bank in Sebring and a Fort Lauderdale airport where “medics are usually standing right behind the officer that they are assigned to.” “They are there with every drug that can keep you alive if they survive, without having anything to defend themselves,” he said.
Some local fire agencies employ trained SWAT medics who were already permitted to carry firearms before the law went into effect. Other agencies within the state, such as the Martin County Fire Department, are creating SWAT medic programs in an effort to keep the team of armed "high-risk" medics separate from those who respond to day-to-day calls.