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Some Florida Paramedics Now Carry Guns on SWAT Teams

Paramedics now carry guns on some SWAT teams in Florida. (Photo/Pinellas Park Police Department Facebook)

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.

Related: Armed Tactical EMS Team Responds with SWAT in Hot Zones

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.

Related: Implementing Tactical EMS in a Rural EMS Agency

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.