Bill aims to expand where firefighters can conceal and carry

Bill has passed the Senate

DANVILLE, Va. – Firefighters and emergency medical services personnel across the commonwealth are talking about a bill making its way through the General Assembly.

If passed, firefighters and EMS personnel could carry a gun on duty as long as they got permission from their chief.

Danville Fire Marshal Richie Guill said Thursday that there hadn't been any discussion about what the department's policy will be if the bill passes.

The department doesn't have a policy that says firefighters can't carry, and the city's conceal and carry policy only bars people from illegally concealing and carrying on city property.

Right now, when Danville firefighters respond to a call, they're most likely not carrying a gun.

Even though they can, Danville Fire Marshal Richie Guill says he doesn't know of any that do.

"Right now, we don't have a policy because we've never had a need for it, for saying you cannot carry a concealed weapon," Guill said.

State Sen. Amanda Chase's bill would allow firefighters to carry a gun in places where currently only law enforcement can, like schools and state buildings.

But how does that help firefighters in localities where the firefighters aren't allowed to conceal and carry?

For example, in Henry County, the only county employees allowed to carry guns at work are law enforcement officers.

Chase was unavailable Thursday, but 10 News was able to speak to her assistant.

She wasn't sure how the bill would affect firefighters in that situation.  

On Thursday, however, the bill still had a ways to go to get passed.

"We're monitoring that progress, and if that gets signed into law that's a topic that we would obviously have to address," Guill said.

The bill would also require fire departments or EMS agencies that allow members to carry while on duty to develop a policy for doing so.

The policy would be reviewable by the department or agency's local governing body.

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