South Carolina bill would put guns in hands of first responders

Published: Mar. 10, 2017 at 11:42 PM EST
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Friday, March 10, 2017

SALLEY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A firearm is just another piece of equipment to law enforcement officers, but HB. 3187 in the South Carolina Legislature could allow emergency medical providers, firefighters and other first responders to carry weapons too.

Fire Chief Gene Fogle has been with the Salley Fire Department since 1977. He said even if lawmakers pass the bill, it wouldn't really impact his crew or the scenes they cover.

"I don't think it's necessary, not where we are located, no. Now other states, different story," Fogle said. "I would think it would need to get a lot more serious before we started considering anything like that."

The firefighters at Salley Fire Department are volunteers, but they are trained to be just as safe as the ones who are paid.

If this bill passed, they'd be trained to carry and use a firearm too.

"I still believe that there has to be some kind of training in place for anybody to carry, not matter if it's concealed, open fire department, or whoever," Fogle said.

Fogle said for now, he doesn't have much interest in it.

"Even if the bill were to pass right now, I wouldn't let my fire department carry a gun," Fogle said. "I don't think it's necessary, not where we are. We have more important things for them to be concentrating on."

Bill Hixon is a volunteer firefighter and a South Carolina State Representative. Nixon said there is another bill that would allow anyone with a concealed weapons permit carry, which means first responders too.