Should Doctors Have Guns?




Health and Healthcare CategoryIn the public news I’ve recently seen some stories about physicians having guns in their offices. This is in response to incidents where disgruntled or disturbed patients have come into physician offices and assaulted staff or physicians. In one instance, a pain and palliative care physician suffered a blow to his shoulder that continues to cause significant impairment and disability. Another incident involved staff being pushed to the floor by a patient. This has led some physicians to store firearms in the workplace.

GunsI don’t have a gun in the office, nor am I a card-carrying NRA member. I don’t challenge those who feel they have a right to bear arms. I personally feel that if there were fewer guns around people would be safer. However, I understand that people need to have protection and they have this right.

I’m curious to know what my readers think. After all, running a medical office is really running a small business. Don’t small business owners, particularly retail store owners, have a right to protect their stores? Are doctors any different from other business owners?

If I were a patient, I think it would be kind of scary to know that my doctor who I am seeing has a gun in his office. I think it would be scary not because of the gun itself, but because of the fact that the environment could actually warrant firearms.

It’s kind of like going to the Emergency Room and seeing all of the metal detectors and all of the bullet proof glass around that is all scratched up. It makes you think twice about your surroundings and take a closer look at the people in the waiting room before you sit down. There is a reason why there is bullet proof glass in the ER waiting room — because shootings have actually occurred there!

I have yet to read an article about a physician shooting or killing a patient who was assaulting him in his office. I hope I don’t ever hear such news. But if doctors are starting to keep firearms then this is bound to happen.

I’m curious to hear what people think. Would you not see a doctor if you knew he had a gun in his office? Do you feel that physicians are similar to the Red Cross and that they should be neutral and conflict avoiding?

  • http://blog.robballen.com Robb Allen

    Well, for one I am a card carrying NRA member and I know for a fact that when I go to my doctor’s office that there is a gun because I’m the one carrying it.

    Do I think that the doctor is going to shoot me? No. I don’t think I’m going to get rear ended but I still wear my seatbelt.

    “I personally feel that if there were fewer guns around people would be safer.”

    If that was true, then you could lower the number of physician suicides by removing medicines from their offices.

    Except violence and suicides are not *caused* by inanimate objects. If they were, each cop you walked by would shoot at you.

    I ask you this, why would a doctor having a gun bother you? Do you live in fear that your physician is trying to kill you? I mean if he really wanted you dead, he could stab you with a scalpel or inject you with something lethal. What mystical properties does a hunk of plastic, wood, and metal have over the mind that forces the bearer to commit violence?

  • Madrocketscientist

    Slow down Robb and re-read his bit. He is not worried about the gun itself, but rather, the message it sends regarding the perceived danger that might exist at a Doctors Office.

    JC, in response to your worry, I’m gonna trot out one of the old counters. When you go to a mall and see fire extinguishers and hose stands and 3″ fire plugs and sprinkler heads, are you worried that the mall will erupt into flame? If a fire did occur, would you worry that a random person not rigorously trained in their use would grab such a device and use it fight the fire?

    For me, if a physician felt that keeping a firearm in his desk or on his person was a necessary safety precaution in his office, I would not worry, nor would I question it unless I observed said physician storing or handling the firearm in an unsafe manner. I’d even feel better if I saw that his office was decorated with trophies and awards from firearms competitions (at least then I know he is likely to hit what he aims at).

  • http://www.ageekwithguns.com Phoronus

    I’d be completely fine with it. Just like any other small business owner or, well, human being for that matter, a doctor has the right to defend himself. I’d feel no more unsafe than going to a barber, mechanic or lawyer who had firearms on premises.

    It’s a little funny, actually, you said “It makes you think twice about your surroundings and take a closer look at the people in the waiting room before you sit down.” almost as if it were a bad thing. All too often, bad things happen to people who aren’t aware of their surroundings and haven’t taken a second look at the people around them. The need for self defense can occur anywhere, after all.

  • http://blog.robballen.com Robb Allen

    MRS,

    I personally feel that if there were fewer guns around people would be safer.

    That’s what I’m commenting on.

  • http://www.squeakywheelseeksgrease.com/blog/ Squeaky Wheel

    I see where you’re coming from – my neighborhood isn’t awesome, and I feel, sometimes, that I actually might need my guns on some nights. This makes me nervous, and it’s part of the reason I was so happy to finally get my CHP last week. The fact that I happily carry around my firearm, hidden, regardless of whether I think I’ll need it or not, makes some of my family members nervous. They feel like if I think I might need my gun at some point, I should move somewhere where I feel safer. The fact of the matter is that there are places that may be safe for a long time as a gun-free location, but eventually people who mean harm will happen to those places. I just want to be ready if it does happen while I’m there.

    If a doctor wants to keep a firearm in his/her office, I’m all for it. In order to own a dealer-sold firearm in TN, you have to pass a background check. If they pass that check, it means they don’t have any diagnosed mental disorders, and haven’t committed any felonies. Thus, the chances of them using that gun for anything but its intended purpose (self-defense only) are greatly reduced. So, really, as you said, it’s just the same as some other small business owner having a handgun.

    I think I may be more nervous if, say, my gynecologist had a handgun, but that’s more from my position of vulnerability in that office than it is a measure of wondering why they would need a gun in the office to begin with.

    You just have to identify where your nervousness comes from, and deal with that. Is it the doctor? The patients? The area of town? Or just the fear that there has to be a reason for the firearm other than the fact that we have the right to keep and carry them?

  • RAH

    No, It would not bother me a bit if a doctor stored a gun at his office. Most of the time the doctor isnt in his office. If he thought the best place to store it is behind the reception desk. That is fine too. The only thing I worry is people picking up a gun who does not know the safety rules.

    Ignorant people will pick up a gun and not be aware that they are pointing it at someone. But if a doctor thought enough that he might need a gun, I am reasonably assured he has trained his staff on what to do.

  • progressive Conservative

    I don’t know that i think the number of assaults in doctor’s offices warrants a gun behind the counter. Maybe in certain areas where people could be coming in looking to steal drugs or something like that. But for the most part, i’d say it’s like any other business, if the doctor wants to get a Concealed Carry permit and keep it in his office, I see that as pretty covert and harmless. The main thing is training. 90% of concealed carry classes is covering the ethics behind using a gun in self-defense.

  • straightarrow

    I would be no more worried, and in some cases less worried, than if I knew the doctor had an automobile.

  • Nomen Nescio

    i was going to chime in on the article’s question, but i find Phoronus and Madrocketscientist have already made most of my points.

    all i can say that’s new is in reply to progressive conservative; to wit, it’s not the risks, it’s the stakes. car accidents per person-mile driven comes out to an awfully low number, but i still wear my seat belt when i go down to the grocery store; not because the risk is great, but because what i might be risking is irreplaceable. i quite agree on the point about training, though, you can’t have too much of that.

  • OldEasterner

    yet to read an article about a physician shooting or killing a patient who was assaulting him in his office.

    I can think of a psychiatrists’ office in NYC a couple months ago that, in retrospect, probably wishes they had some means of defense. The woman doctor was brutally slashed to death (including bloody handprints on the window) and her colleague who tried to help spent time in the hospital. It would have ended differently, if the colleague had access to a gun.

  • http://blog.robballen.com Robb Allen

    I want to make sure I’m not being misunderstood (yesterday seemed to pull the grump out of me).

    I wouldn’t care if my physician had a gun any more than I’d care if my neighbor, mechanic, coworker, waitress, valet, or shoe shine boy did. The gun itself will not cause problems. Yes, people misuse them, but people misuse every last thing that has ever existed on earth.

    A doctor has an oath to do no harm when performing his practice. It’s not a suicide pact that states he or she cannot protect themselves, their employees, or their property. In fact, the do no harm thing is not absolute – to inject a needle, you must puncture the skin. To remove a tumor, you must cut through tissue. And to save your life or that of your employees, you may need to take one or at least be able to back up the threat of doing so.

    In fact, I’d feel more comfortable with a doctor who understands this than one who cannot discern between being protective and being predatory.

  • Ace

    Why would I ever worry about a law abiding citizen possessing a firearm on or near their person? None of my pistols has done anything illegal; although my XD was an original model that started to rust which to me is a crime.

    There are a multitude of reasons the average doctor would need to take the precaution including: The storage of drugs on the premises, petty cash on hand for the few patients that possibly pay cash, and the appearance of being a place that a criminal could face little resistance.

    Don’t fear the object.

  • https://accounts.google.com/ServiceLogin?service=blogger&hl=en&passive=86400&continue=http://www.blogger.com/blogin.g?blogspotURL%3Dhttp://redpillreich.blogspot.com/%26zx%3Dreehkvze87x2&am Olivia

    Hi Shaheen,

    Thanks for visiting my site and asking me to comment here.

    Prescription drugs are far more dangerous than guns, so it doesn’t bother me if doctors have guns at work, as long as they follow the law.

    Many of the doctors who have felt threatened have been suffering the side effects of their own drugs. For example, most school shootings and incidents of mass violence involved a person taking an antidepressant, but this is not typical behavior of a depressed person.

    I read one psychiatrist’s story of how a person whom he’d recently put on an antidepressant came to his office, laid a gun on the desk and started talking about making the world a better place. Rather than getting his own gun, he researched the school shootings and put the pieces together. He knew this person just a few weeks before had no violent tendencies, and therefore stopped the drug and the man returned to normal.

    This psychiatrist is now leaving psychiatry because of this experience – it opened his eyes to the fact that many of the drugs he prescribed caused many of the subsequent psychiatric symptoms, rather than the illness.

    Thanks again for asking for my opinion.

  • http://akeyboardanda45.blogspot.com/ JR

    I’m curious to hear what people think. Would you not see a doctor if you knew he had a gun in his office? Do you feel that physicians are similar to the Red Cross and that they should be neutral and conflict avoiding?

    I am a card carrying member of the NRA, a CHL holder, and carry a firearm pretty much 24/7.

    I also consider myself to be a conflict avoiding individual. The fact that I have decided to use the most efficient tool available for the defense of myself and my family does not, in any way, infer that I am looking to become involved in any sort of conflict. Conflict avoidance is a major component of any self defense program..

    Would I see a Dr. if I knew there was a gun in the office? Of course, but I would prefer that if the firearm were for self defense, the Dr. kept it at hand.

  • http://xavierthoughts.blogspot.com Xavier

    Physicians have the right to have any legally owned object in their office that they desire. They have a right to the ability to effectively protect themselves and others from violence. I am glad that is not disputed. We are not talking about a patient or family member acting out. We are not talking about verbal threats. We are talking about someone attacking another human being with the intent to cause grave bodily injury or death.

    As far as your questions:

    Would you not see a doctor if you knew he had a gun in his office?

    The physician I see does carry a gun. I assume it is also in his office if he is there. I would not change physicians because of this. In fact, I am comforted knowing he has the ability to effectively stop a violent attempt on his life and the lives of others. He has taken the responsibility for saving lives from a violent attack.

    Do you feel that physicians are similar to the Red Cross and that they should be neutral and conflict avoiding?

    I believe that physicians should be proactive in quelling conflict. They should have the ability and means to stop conflict. They should not be disaffected bystanders who studiously avoid, indeed retreat from conflict. When violence occurs, there is no neutral position. Either you allow it to continue or you stop it. The real question is which path you take.

    Physicians, when they enter med school, often want to make a difference. They want to save lives. The financial aspect of medicine is a bonus. The lack of effective self defense will not stop violence. When violence occurs, the firearm becomes a life saving tool, much like an AED or a fire extinguisher. Looked at from this perspective, the gun in the physician’s hands is no different from any other device in giving him the means to save lives.

  • Homer

    I’m worried less about a doctor having a gun in his office than him not having the gun on his person. Where will it be when it’s needed? In a drawer three doors down the hall is not the answer.

    As to needing a firearm in a doctor’s office, I don’t see any difference between a doctor’s office, a mall, my house or the corner of Third and Main. Ask yourself this: how often do you take the spare tire out of your trunk and leave it at home because you don’t think you’ll have a flat tire that day? And, if so, do you think you won’t have a flat tire that day because of the particular streets you plan on using?

  • Phillip

    I do not see where a person’s lawful choice of occupation should limit their ability to defend themselves and their employees. I have known pastors who have kept a firearm in their vehicle because they occasionally had to travel through dangerous neighborhoods.

    Moreover, I would trust MY physician with a firearm. I also trust his discretion, and his medical judgement. I believe that if he wanted to kill someone, he could do so with the tools of his profession in a much more efficient manner than with a gun, and do it in a way that it would be hard to put him up on charges of murder. Therefore, a gun in his hands would not be in the least scary. I also know that he’s not a hoplophobe (abnormal fear of firearms), since he was able to detect that I was carrying at one appointment, and chose not to even mention it out loud.

    I also agree with Xavier’s comments above, as well as JR’s statement that if he had a gun in his office, it would be better if it were worn on him, as he is then in physical control of it at all times.

  • Ross

    I, personally, would feel better if I knew that my physician did have a gun. That way I would know that she understood me, her patient, better, since I am a gun owner. As for being frightened… why? None of my own guns have ever shot me, and since my doctor, AFAIK, doesn’t have any homicidal thoughts towards me, I wouldn’t have the least problem with her being armed.

  • http://rustmeister.blogspot.com Rustmeister

    I have no problem with anyone who wants to walk around legally armed. I do it as often as I can.

    I do want to address this comment from the post:

    I think it would be scary not because of the gun itself, but because of the fact that the environment could actually warrant firearms.

    That’s not a realistic outlook, in my opinion.

    Churches are not an environment that would warrant firearms, but the one in Colorado avoided certain carnage because people in that church were armed.

    The sad fact is, people can “flip out” anywhere, at any time. Like the fire extinguisher and seat belt analogies, not being prepared for conflict is what leads to disaster.

    People need to have a plan for life’s uncertainties, and “hope” is not a plan.

  • http://speakertweaker.blogspot.com Speakertweaker

    To answer your questions:

    Would you not see a doctor if you knew he had a gun in his office?

    A doctor having a firearm in his office certainly would not deter me from seeing that doctor. In fact, personally I’d prefer the doctor to have firearms at his office, just in case he spots my (legally owned and carried) pistol I carry daily. I would feel the same way Xavier does: that he has decided to take a proactive approach to ending conflict.

    Do you feel that physicians are similar to the Red Cross and that they should be neutral and conflict avoiding?

    I feel that ALL persons should avoid conflict. This is not an idea that the Red Cross created, nor is it one the Red Cross is mutually exclusive in practicing. I’d say that most, if not all, reasonable, law-abiding people avoid conflict already. Unfortunately, conflict frequently seeks out those who were avoiding it. No one is expecting to have a fire, either, but a fire extinguisher is right handy when there is one. At the point where conflict or fire reaches you, avoiding it is no longer an option. You allow it or fight it.

    Not to say that the gun is the only option, either. Lead others to safety and call the police if you can. You do whatever you can do. Those of us who have firearms at the ready have a more direct, active approach to conflict resolution.

    tweaker

  • http://www.evidenceministries.org Keith Walker

    If I were a patient, I think it would be kind of scary to know that my doctor who I am seeing has a gun in his office. I think it would be scary not because of the gun itself, but because of the fact that the environment could actually warrant firearms.

    I do not understand this statement at all. If the environment warrants firearms, then wouldn’t you want your doctor to be armed? I get the idea that you do not want to face the fact that a hospital or doctor’s office DOES warrant firearms. Ignoring this fact just adds to the body count. I speak from experience.

    My wife’s Bible study teacher was shot and killed outside of her office last month. You can read a little about her story here.
    http://evidenceministries.blogspot.com/2008/04/in-memory-of-julie-abbott.html

    Hospitals are “gun free zones” in Texas. That sure did a lot of good didn’t it?

  • http://www.eeaston.com Evan

    If I were a patient, I think it would be kind of scary to know that my doctor who I am seeing has a gun in his office. I think it would be scary not because of the gun itself, but because of the fact that the environment could actually warrant firearms.

    Many people don’t realize they are virtually always in environments that “warrant firearms.” They are largely ignorant to the risks (albeit usually low risks) that are present.

    Sometimes they’re oblivious to the possibility of anything going wrong.

    Sometimes it’s denial that anything could happen to them.

    Of course, many people realize, to some degree, there’s risks in everything. Then the issue is what to do about it.

    For some, it’s a calculated gamble that despite the risks, it’s not worth the hassle to take certain precautions.

    Others think that someone else will stop the problem (911+cops) if one crops up.

    And finally, others take responsibility for their own safety keeping tools, such as firearms, on hand to deal with possible (albeit usually unlikely) situations.

    Personally, I’m fine with those in that last group. I don’t think everyone, or even a majority, should be in that last group. A lot of folks simply aren’t mature and knowledgeable enough to do it safely…even many doctors aren’t.

    Carrying a gun safely requires control of temper, avoidance of elective situations that might knowingly increase the changes you’ll need to use a gun for self defense, and proper gun handling techniques (including not handling a gun when there’s absolutely no need to be futzing with it).

    In the end, if the doctor feels a need for self defense tools, then A OK by me. Who am I to make judgments about the value of other people’s lives, by denying they any and all reasonable tools to protect themselves with….yes I view a firearm as a reasonable tool for some situations.

  • http://www.thehighroad.org/ jlbraun

    I would be completely fine with it. In fact, I would be *more likely* to go to a doctor that carried a firearm in his office than one that did not.

    A few hunting/shooting gun magazines in the waiting room are a nice touch to see in a doc’s office.

  • Tennessee Budd

    I’d feel a lot more comfortable if I knew my doctor had a firearm handy. I haven’t asked; I know, when I go, that at least one of us is armed.
    Doctors are supposed to save lives, if possible. When a violent situation occurs, the choice is to stop it (as one may do when armed), or tacitly cooperate (which is all an unarmed person can do).

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  • http://murder-n-mayhem.blogspot.com That Dude

    Doctors need to set up their offices where the patients are. My pediatrician’s office is in a real crappy part of town because that’s where he’s needed. I would be okay knowing he was armed because that’s the environment he practices. In fact, I would be surprised to learn that he’s NOT carrying. He’s offering a vital service to a severely, economically challenged area. I also think teachers should be armed or at least trained in every aspect of police work, especially those working in inner city schools. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

  • Khornet

    I’m a physician who carries at all times. No one has a right to inflict death or serious harm on innocents, and I have a right (and a duty) to stop the attack if I can.

    We docs aren’t dealing with a normal population. While most folks we see are perfectly normal, the nature of our work, in whatever branch of medicine, brings us into contact with plenty of not-so-normal types.

    But even if I were a plumber I would carry. I have the right to defend myself, period.

  • http://xavierthoughts.blogspot.com Xavier

    Oh, and by the way, the photo you have chosen of a yokel carrying a handgun is insulting.

    Perhaps you believe the photo is one of a doctor carrying a gun. If so, it is fitting, but incorrect. If you are attempting to potray people who carry guns as lunatics, the photo is a good indicator of that intent. If that is not your intent, you need to change it. It would still be incorrect.

    Want to know what people who CCW look like? They look just like you, or the person next to you. They look like your best friend. They look like normal, everyday human beings, not a person in post-Katrina New Orleans tryting to protect their property. Oh, yes…….that is what your photo depicts.

  • http://bookmoth.blogspot.com bookmoth

    If I were a patient, I think it would be kind of scary to know that my doctor who I am seeing has a gun in his office. I think it would be scary not because of the gun itself, but because of the fact that the environment could actually warrant firearms.

    If the environment is dangerous to warrant the kind of protection a firearm provides, then the doctor is negligent in NOT having a firearm. I’m trusting the doctor with mt physical safety by going to see him or her when I’m ill, expecting him or her to cure me. Is it that so far different from assuming that he can provide me a safe environment underwhich the examination can take place?

  • Tina

    Doctors should not have guns.

  • P.

    I recently read where 10% of all physicians are drug addicts. Because of those kinds of statistics I do not think physicians should have guns anywhere around patients.

  • JMKC

    I think it’s reprehensible that physicians, some of whom are responsible for committing acts of what is considered workplace violence (verbal, physical, etc) want to be protected themselves with firearms, and, yet, most hospital workers are not protected in the same way against violence and firearms.
    They remind me of the celebrities who support gun bans, and have armed themselves or armed bodyguards at all times.
    Hippocracy!

  • Kent

    Come on Robb, if guys like you would get smart you would find out that where the law abiding citizen has concealed carry permits the crime rate drops.

    But you can’t get this kind of information from the drive by media. You have to go looking for it.

  • http://blog.robballen.com Robb Allen

    Kent, I assume you’re meaning someone else. I’m quite aware that crime does not increase with CCW. I know I’ve not committed crimes with mine!

  • air

    well, its really a nice topic……. i am a physician myself…. n know how the attitudes of patients have been changing with times…….don’t know why , but the trust has rapidly fallen n patient constantly views the doctor with suspicion.if doctors were to keep firearms, i dont think it will add anyhow to the already high suspicion……. only the chances are that people wil have to think before manually harming the doctor.afterall, everybody has a right to selfdefence
    as from the patient point of view, i think when i used to visit my doctors before i myself became one, i knew well that they dont need arms to harm me…. a wrong prescription would be enough if they intended to do so.so knowing that he posseses a gun wont make any difference…..
    in the end i would like to say onething… that training as a physician and years of residency and patient care somehow instill the “do no harm” quality so deep into the soul of doctors… that fundamentally they can’t be offensive…. so i beleive for most of them the situation has to be extreme to even think of using a gun……

  • http://www.breadnroses.ca/birthpangs/2008/07/the-haters-agenda-part-ii/ deBeauxOs

    I’m Canadian and this whole discussion is quite interesting, because it opens a window into a culture where carrying concealed weapons is the norm, and this culture is quite foreign to my values and to the majority of people that I know.

    However, I would definitely support the notion that physicians and health care practioners who work in women’s health clinics should be trained and licensed to carry personal firearms, and do so 24/7. There are a number of religious fanatics who are itching to become the next Paul Hill. If these disturbed individuals were aware that clinic staff were armed and ready to defend themselves, in the traditional American way, that could prove to be a powerful deterrent.

  • http://amcit.wordpress.com AMCIT

    If I’m seeing a physician, I’m already trusting him with my life.

    If I’m seeing a doctor of any type who has made the conscious decision to obtain a legal firearm, I’m even more convinced of his rationality.

    deBeausOx – I don’t conceal my handgun, usually. I wear it in a holster on my belt. I’d be interesting in hearing a little more how gun ownership/use conflicts with your values UNLESS I were working in a women’s health clinic. Mind you, I agree on the religious fanatics, but I’m interested in where you draw the line between conflict and practicality.

  • Anonymous

    I believe as long as a physician is capable to make appropriate decisions, and is mentally-healthy, he or she is should have the right to carry a gun. But there is a double-edge sword that public educators cannot have guns. I have been in a ‘rough’ school and have been assaulted many times. After dealing with administration, I finally had eight students arrested and three police officers in the classroom. I am now a tutor, however I work in some interesting neighborhoods. So, I now have six police friends on speed dial!

  • Jeff

    So, you’re thinking about moving to a new country, the USA let’s say. Then you find out they, unlike Costa Rica, have an army. No good. Costa Rica must be safer.

    Or you’re already here but want to relocate to say, Beverly Hills, Bel-Air, Palm Beach. Omigod, the police there have guns, unlike, say, London. No good. London must be safer. (It isn’t.)

    Your doctor has antibacterial soap in his washroom. (Shivers!) They don’t do this in Rwanda. I’m getting out. There must be germs in here.

    When some upset kids decide to host a shoot-em-up, they don’t do so at the local gendarmerie, they go where people have been disarmed, usually to the local public school. They’re not as nuts as some would like us to think; they prefer unarmed victims.

    So, now the bullets are flying, who gets the call? Guys who do have guns!

    Firearms, in the hands of stable and responsible people, are prophylactic.

    Maybe the AMA should mind their own business, and given the state of nondiagnosis, misdiagnosis, nontreatment and malpractice, might be a business which needs minding. Are you interested in hearing a constitutional scholar spout off on surgical methodolgy?

    If the person who wrote this column is indeed a medical doctor, I would be very concerned about her ability to use reason in her practice.

    Some of the comments to this post are frightening. And these people can vote? The voting age should be raised to 30.

  • fsilber

    If knew my doctor was carrying a firearm, I’d think it was neat. It’s always interesting to see other people’s tastes and choices in firearms. I’m not a card-carrying NRA member (my wallet is lumpy enough even leaving the card at home), but I’ve sometimes carried a gun into an examination. That’s not due to any fear; it’s just because carrying a handgun is what I do routinely specifically _because_ I don’t expect to need it. (If I had reason to expect danger, I’d stay home if I could and if not I’d carry a shotgun or rifle).

    If fewer guns made us safer, we could instantly improve everyone’s safety by disarming cops, security guards, and politicians’ bodyguards.

  • sirmatthew

    Given 48 states have concealed-carry rights I am convinced there are a great many doctors who carry firearms now and patients are simply not aware of it. I have not heard of patients being overly concerned about this possibility and I doubt many have screened their doctors with the question, “Do you carry a weapon?” It is simply not an issue and no one should make it an issue given citizens are merely exercising their Constitutional right. On the flip-side, I have yet to hear of a doctor who has refused to see an armed patient. It is simply not an issue, although they may ask that it be removed (along with shoes, belts, clothing, etc.) during the examination.

    I believe most people do try to remain neutral and avoid conflicts, but they continue to do so regardless if they possess a firearm or not. The author of this article seems to be implying those who carry are choosing to be aggressive in seeking conflicts. Bias is being shown whether the author realizes it or not.

    The bottom line is people should value their life enough to take whatever measures are necessary to protect it. For patients that could mean shelling out $100 for an office visit to consult with a doctor. For doctors that could mean being prepared for “sick” patients. Regardless of how we do it, I respect those who would take such measures. They carry because they want to have a long and healthy life; not because they are eager to take action which might result in a short and disabled life.

    As for what is bound to happen, I would support any doctor who was forced to resort to using a firearm to protect himself against a violent attack by a patient. Why should we pity the patient who sought medical help from a caring professional, let himself get out of control, violated the law by assaulting the very one trying to help, and having intention of great harm or even to kill a doctor who has devoted his entire life to improving and saving lives? Doctors would have an exceptionally hard time pulling that trigger given they live to heal and maintain life, not harm or take it away.

    Nevertheless, Constitutional rights should not be checked at the door, regardless if we are talking about patients or doctors.

  • Wendy Weinbaum

    As a Jewess in the US, I would like to remind everyone that criminals are stopped by FIREARMS, not by talk. And that America wasn’t won with a registered gun! That is why all REAL Americans put our 2nd Amendment FIRST!!

  • lysander spooner

    It prudence not paranoia which would prompt one to have a firearm for protection in a place of business which maintains prescription drug samples and deals with persons with mental disabilities. I don’t anticipate a fire in my place of business, either, but I have a couple of strategically placed fire extinguishers readily available. I also carry an up to date fire insurance policy.

  • joe

    Well, cops have guns. The average cop has just above an average IQ. Police organizations want applicants to have an average intelligence and nothing better. Bright officers gets bored. This increases costs. Read this if you think I am making this up (federal court upholds i.q. discrimination in hiring police officers):

    http://www.siop.org/tip/backissues/TipJan00/21Demonte.aspx

    In addition, most officers have an associate’s degree, at best. Most of the old-timers have no college education at all. The fact is that cops, with their demonstrated low I.Q.s and lack of education, generally handle guns fine. It is my opinion that doctors can do just as well, or better. If I didn’t trust my doctor with a gun I wouldn’t see him at all.

  • joe

    Oh, and one more thing. Sorry that the Wendy Weinbaum troll has followed us here do your site. I am almost certain that he follows these stories from the links on keeandbeararms.com. I really wish he would come back to reality and realize that he is not a she and that he is not a Jew. Also, the unoriginal cutting and pasting of an unoriginal message is getting to be annoying.

  • Mack

    Dude…if you want one you should have one. If decorum concerns ya…put it in the pocket of that nice clean white smock you fellers wear. Or, ankle holster. No one need know if you so chose.

  • BambiB

    If the fact that doctors kill more than 3 times as many people through medical misadventure as die by gunfire doesn’t put your patients off, why should a gun?

    Do you propose to advertise its presence? Do you currently advertise that YOU are statistically FAR more dangerous than the average firearm to the well-being of your… customers?

    Do you wave your fire extinguisher around for every new patient and announce, “If there’s a fire… I’m ready!!”???

    If you want to have the means to protect yourself, your staff and your patients from whatever violent vicissitudes of life may visit themselves upon your office, get a gun and learn how to use it.

    If you don’t give a crap, then don’t bother. Just continue to be a passive bystander in events which may some day turn deadly for you or one you care about. And if some day your world turns to violent shit, remember the moment (if you survive) when you think to yourself, “I wish I’d had a gun.”

  • MDwithCCW

    As a doctor, I welcome patients and patient family members in my office who carry. It just means that someone might have the ability to “have my back” if the SHTF. I also welcome people who carry cell phones for emergency use, bring their knitting, or a good book to read while they wait. The gun is just a tool–properly respected and used, no less safe.
    The issue never comes up at 99+% of my clinic visits. If you show up in a Winchester shirt, wearing a Glock hat or open carrying in my office, I will bring it up and greet you as a brother.
    Personally, as a sometime patient, I want to know if my doctor knows his/her medicine or has good surgical skills. Whether they carry a gun, wear ladies lingerie or French kiss their dog doesn’t bother me if they can make me better.

  • http://www.thereadyline.blogspot.com Brent G.

    There are several issues at play here. Should the physician be permitted, or feel okay, about keeping a firearm at his or her office? Absolutely! Doctors should be safe in their business and have the basic human right of self defense just like anyone else. But I do not think the firearm should be stored there. The firearm should go where the physician goes. Leaving it unsecured, or at least out of the immediate-, or near-control, of the doctor creates its own issues. Any other staff, though if experienced with a gun, should be able to have access to this vital self defense tool if necessary.
    As far as doctors as a group, most every physician I know owns firearms. If they don’t hunt, they keep one at their home for self defense and many shoot skeet, trap or sporting clays, the latter one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S.
    Bottom line. A physician need not advertise to his or her patients that the firearm is present. Its none of their business. But in an emergency, like an automated CPR unit, or even someone trained in CPR, it is far more likely to be used to save the lives of many than to be used to hurt.

  • http://www.dsgl.org AJMD

    About one in twelve adults has a concealed carry permit in Indiana, so in a typical day I would expect to see an average of two patients carrying concealed weapons. It would be rather ludicrous to expect they’d leave them unattended in their car, or only have them when their magic powers informed them THAT was the day/place they’d need one.

    If the physician truly believes in protecting life, which we would HOPE is the case, it would seem a natural extention that they would approve of, and perhaps employ, means to do so which aren’t all within the realm of their professional practice.

    We tend to forget that in the ‘old days’ when even teenagers could purchase ‘military style semiautomatic rifles’ via mail-order catalog, and it was commonplace to have guns in schools for everything from rifle team practice, after-school hunting, or just ‘show and tell’, there weren’t the problems we see today with violence. Violence isn’t rampant now because of guns; it is rampant as a result of forty years of not holding anyone accountable for their actions, welfare-state economics, and our symbolic yet disasterous ‘war on drugs.’

    Doctors for Sensible Gun Laws – http://www.dsgl.org

  • http://openaccesstohealth.com/ Amit

    It depends on situation like, a doctor with lots of money and patient from wide range in society may require gum to protect him self but in general doctor is a respectful profession and they don’t need gun.

  • Asheley

    I think that it is fine that doctors have a gun in their office. I think they are responsible and respectful enough professionals to be able to have a gun at hand for their protection. Personally, I have never heard a news story about there about a disgruntled or disturbed patient assulting a doctor, but that does not mean it doesn’t happen.

    As long as these doctor’s are not advertising that they are carrying this gun on their rounds, in surgery, in the cafeteria..I don’t see it as a problem. Noone who is in the hospital wants to see a doctor with a gun. Just keep in out of the eye of the public. They have a right to “self-defense” just like any of the rest of us. We may not know, but surely there are doctors out there who are already carrying a gun and no one has a clue. Most of the time the doctors are dealing with patients who may not be mentally stable or in their right state of mind in which a violent situation could occur.

    If a doctor feels the need to carry a gun to protect himself/herself who are we the public to tell them that they cannot? They have the right to personal protection just like any of the rest of us. If an emergency arises, they wouldl be able to protect their other patients and staff. Like I said I don’t want to see it but have absolutely no problem knowing that my physician is packing.

  • Sigalert

    I think it would be scary not because of the gun itself, but because of the fact that the environment could actually warrant firearms.

    All environments could potentially warrant the use of firearms. Even my own home. Odds are, you are quite safe in your everyday travels. There’s always the deviation to worry about.

    Making the assumption a place is safe doesn’t make it so.

  • Kristopher

    Rustmeister:

    The sad fact is, people can “flip out” anywhere, at any time. Like the fire extinguisher and seat belt analogies, not being prepared for conflict is what leads to disaster.

    Active killers don’t just start shooting at random when they flip out. They plan ahead, once they make the decision to climb the clocktower, and realize that the police, and possibly their victims will try to stop them. They deliberately choose schools, malls, and churches because often CCW is forbidden there.

  • Justin Levis

    I think doctors should not have guns, but i think they should have a police baton or something similar. i feel a gun is to dangerous and so is a police baton but the baton would be hard to kill or seriously injure someone with it

  • http://www.google.com Wiggy Wiggy

    That is one of the most stupid things I’ve ever heard. Doctors should not have guns. If they hunt, they could have a gun and keep it at home, but anytime at their work, they should not have guns. Their job is to help people not scare them away!

  • http://www.dsgl.org AJMD

    “i feel a gun is to dangerous and so is a police baton but the baton would be hard to kill or seriously injure someone with it” – I’m sure a 60 year old 115 pound female physician would not ‘seriously injure’ a 240 pound male aggressor with a police baton! I’d prefer she STOP him, instantly, whether with a magic spell or a .44 Magnum.

  • Brooklyn

    several points, some of which have been made already :
    as a doctor, If i would choose to harm someone I do not need a gun or any other commonly recognized weapon to do so. As a person in my place of business I would consider it my JOB to attempt to limit and diffuse/avoid all violence if possible. If that takes a kabaar knife so be it. If its a glock so be it. I don’s wear either but that doesnt mean I do not look out for my patient’s safety by other means. To to original poster and any others… would it bother you if you knew your doctor was a martial artist trained to kill with his bare hands, or former military special forces? I know several who are one , the other, or both. Does the method change your fear?
    Please reply without extensive use of “for instance” examples. Accidents happen, people get hurt. If that is a basic fear you have, don’t leave the house… or maybe do… the roof may fall.
    :-P

  • AJMD

    I would hope that the doctor wasn’t the only staff member with a firearm; there is no reason ALL the employees of a medical office, or any other place, should not be potentially armed.

    Our government keeps creating perfect social conditions to create psychopaths, and laws which make their killing-fields safe for THEM. Time to quit doing that, and quit pretending that ‘laws’ can prevent things from happening that are already illegal. If those same laws attempt to disarm the victims and render them helpless, then we are compounding the problem.

JC, MD

Dr. JC is a medical doctor who has a passion for health promotion and education.
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