West Virginia Headlines

Bill allows first responders to carry guns on duty, requires training course

Beckley, WV (WVNS) - The West Virginia legislature is working on a bill to amend the code that allows first responders to carry firearms on duty. 

House Bill 2720 would authorize supervising entities to allow ambulance crew members, firefighters, rescue squad members and emergency service personnel to carry firearms. It also specifies the training required for them to be eligible to carry a firearm and allows them to be reimbursed for the training. 

Former firefighter and Raleigh County Commissioner, David Tolliver, said he understands why first responders might need a firearm on the job, but not without certain regulations. 

"You don't want a first responder, on the job for the first time, who is 18 or 20 years old, to be carrying a firearm," Tolliver explained. "But if you can regulate it to where the paramedics and EMTs, and first responders take the course, then I don't have a problem with it."

The bill requires first responders to complete a firearms training course equivalent to the law-enforcement certification course at the West Virginia Police Academy. The bill is now in its second reading. 

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