Stethoscope, Smartphone, Trauma Shears, Gloves and Pistol

If I was casting and outfitting an actor to play the role of paramedic on television I would make sure their costume, for the sake of authenticity, included:

  • Stethoscope, casually slung around the neck or half tucked into a cargo pocket
  • Smartphone, holstered on a tactical belt in an Otter Box or other type of rigid case
  • Trauma Shears, a brightly colored handle smartly snapped into a pant leg cargo pocket
  • Gloves, also half tucked into a back pocket

And then I would need to check with a technical expert about where the paramedic’s pistol¬†should be concealed. Maybe a leg holster for easy access. A waistband holster inside the pant’s waistline seems too difficult to access with a tactical belt and tucked in uniform shirt. Those under arm holsters seem better suited for people who wear blazers, suit coats, or lightweight, button in front, windbreakers. Or maybe there is some other optimal location.

A Kansas law, which became effective on July 1, 2016, makes it legal for firefighters and EMS personnel to have a concealed carry weapon while on duty. The only exception is for school zones or private buildings specifically marked or designated as ‘gun free.’ Public employers, such as city and county governments, cannot prohibit their employees from carrying on duty.

I have long suspected that some paramedics carry a concealed weapon on duty, regardless of state law or employer policy. When something becomes as ubiquitous and socially¬†permissive as gun ownership I simply don’t buy into the notion of “I will carry, but not in gun free zones.”

But … and it usually comes quickly … “gun owners, especially concealed carry permit holders, are some of the most law-abiding citizens.”

Yes, that is likely true.

And let loose the rainbows and unicorns as you consider any number of signs and laws people regularly disregard:

  • Driving slightly above the speed limit
  • Texting and driving
  • Using a phone without a hands-free device
  • Carrying in food and beverages to movies, concerts, and amusement parks

With two things on my mind – legislation is making it increasingly difficult for employers to restrict on-duty concealed carry and some paramedics are already carrying on duty – I asked EMS1 columnists to reply to this question:

As an EMS leader, educator and advocate what is the one thing EMS providers should consider before carrying a concealed weapon in the ambulance?

Here are the replies from top leaders and educators in EMS, including Kelly Grayson, Rom Duckworth, Dan Limmer, Doug Wolfberg, and Art Hsieh:

What should EMS providers consider before carrying a concealed weapon on duty?

Read what they have to say and join the conversation.

By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.