W.Va. Senate OKs bill to let tactical medical professionals with SWAT teams carry firearms
Lead sponsor Majority Leader Tom Takubo clarified that the measure only applies to specific situations
By David Beard
The Dominion Post
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The state Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill to allow specially trained medical professionals who accompany police SWAT teams on missions to carry weapons.
SB 83 would allow a "tactical medical professional " trained and certified in tactical combat casualty care and tactical emergency medical support to carry a firearm while on duty with a law enforcement team.
The medical professional — EMTs, physicians, osteopaths, physician assistants and nurses — would have to be certified by the Law Enforcement Professional Standards Subcommittee of the Governor's Committee on Crime, Delinquency and Corrections.
The medical professional would be protected from civil and criminal liability while performing with law enforcement.
Lead sponsor Majority Leader Tom Takubo clarified on the Senate floor that the bill does not allow doctors and nurses to carry guns in hospitals or allow EMS workers to carry guns while on duty. It applies to the specific situations described in the bill.
Takubo said surrounding states have similar laws and this will bring West Virginia into line with them.
He previously told the Health Committee, which sent the bill to the floor, that the bill originated last year from a physician who served with a SWAT team. The idea behind it is that the medical professional doesn't want to be law enforcement but wants to have a means of self-protection when an incident goes bad.
The bill now heads to the House.
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