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New Gun Policy Set for Columbus Firefighters

Updated: Thursday, March 28 2013, 08:25 PM EDT

COLUMBUS -- New rules are going into effect for firefighters carrying guns while on the job.

There are about a dozen arson investigators that carry weapons.  They often serve warrants with police instead of putting out fires, which is why they carry guns.

"A lot of people get nervous when an arson investigator shows up," said Battalion Chief Patrick Ferguson.  "We want them to make sure that they're safe and be able to do the job they need to do."

Firefighters will now be put on desk duty if they pull out their gun -- even if they do not fire the weapon -- while there's an internal investigation.  Arson investigators also can only carry them on the job, not off duty.

A January in which a man pulled a BB gun on an arson investigator led to the re-evaluation of how firefighters handle their guns. During that incident, the firefighter pulled out his gun and arrested the man.

The head of the arson unit, Jeff Happ, is now being reassigned because of how he handled this road rage case with his bosses.

"It was time for new blood in the arson bureau," Ferguson said.  "It was just an agreement between everybody to move on and just put this to bed."

The arson investigator involved in the road rage incident is still on administrative duty.  Firefighters hope to have his case resolved in the next two to three weeks.

New Gun Policy Set for Columbus Firefighters

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