Some Florida paramedics are now carrying guns on some SWAT teams after a law was changed following the deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bill into law in June. It allows tactical medical professionals, when working alongside a SWAT team, the ability to carry firearms like other officers and have no duty to retreat when defending themselves or others from harm, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
SWAT medics won’t be carrying guns at fires, car crashes or other day-to-day duties. It also stops them from responding to routine medical calls with guns.
Some departments allowed medics in violation of the law to carry weapons before the bill was signed, the newspaper noted. Other departments put SWAT medics through reserve officer or deputy training programs to allow them to carry weapons.
“It’s better to be alive than dead,” said Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.