Georgia is considering the option of letting firefighters carry guns while they work, and a proposed bill is being reviewed. Firefighters are currently not allowed to carry weapons on duty, but the bill would change the rules and even allow concealed guns. The proposal has garnered mixed reviews, and some firefighters feel the bill is not necessary.
Georgia is weighing the idea of arming firefighters in the state, according to WXIA-TV. The proposal is motivated by an incident that occurred several months ago that involved a gunman holding firefighters hostage after tricking them into entering his home. The firefighters were not armed and had no way to defend themselves from the gunman, and the bill proposes a change to make them safer in the future.
Fire Chief Casey Snyder, who gained media attention after his firefighters were taken hostage by a gunman, does not appear to support the bill. Snyder states he is not aware of the content of the proposal and has no plans to arm his firefighters in the future. The fire chief makes it clear that if the bill passes he will not let his firefighters carry guns because he feels it is not necessary.
Carrying a weapon would bring a new level of responsibility for firefighters, and it would require additional training for them. Supporters of the bill state fire departments should have the right to decide if they want to arm firefighters, but they feel it is a good move. Critics argue that arming firefighters could create more harm than good and is not necessary.
The bill would put the pressure of allowing guns on individual fire stations and fire chiefs by letting them make the decision. The incident from several months ago is being used as an example of how arming firefighters might have defused the situation faster and ended the risks to their lives. However, no one was actually hurt during the hostage situation, and a SWAT team eventually rescued the firefighters.
Despite arguments on both sides of the issue, arming firefighters remains a controversial issue in Georgia and other states. Although everyone wants to see firefighters protected from potential harm, some believe that adding more guns to the mix is not the right answer. In Georgia, the bill is still in the initial stages, so it may not pass. A committee will review it and make changes or propose other ideas.