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Guns at the Bedside

Posted
by rnrazzil rnrazzil, ADN (New) New

Has 4 years experience.

My friend and I are having a heated discussion on gun rights. Would a patient admitted to a hospital be able to keep a gun at the bedside? Hypothetically speaking this patient would be licensed/certified to carry outside of the hospital.

HandsOffMySteth

Has 3 years experience.

Absolutely not! For the same reason you can't carry a gun in the federal building and courts. The hospital should provide all the security that patient needs.

I am very pro gun, but with that right comes responsibility to others.

Closed Account 12345

Has 14 years experience.

In my state, hospitals are considered gun free zones, and taking a handgun into a hospital is a misdemeanor. I support the right to bear arms, but the 2nd amendment doesn't mean a free for all; it's also illegal to take guns to schools, courthouses, private businesses with appropriate signage, churches in some states, etc. for good reason.

If a patient has a possession that threatens the well-being of the patient or others, it should be sent home or secured by security.

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 20 years experience.

I had a concealed-carry permit and kept my .38 in the glove box of my car. I worked night shift and there were any number of questionable characters out in front of the ER on some nights when I arrived at the hospital for work. Our "security" team was a joke, but I allowed them to escort me in because I would never in a million years have taken my gun into the building. It was there for my safety on the road, not to carry into my workplace. The idea of allowing a patient to keep one at the bedside is too scary to contemplate. So many things could go sideways.

lifelearningrn, BSN, RN

Specializes in School Nursing. Has 7 years experience.

I think it would be insanity if NRA somehow managed to get something like this pushed through congress.

If someone is in the hospital, one can only assume diminished capacity at some point during the stay (sick, medications, etc.). The last thing nurses need to be doing is entering the room and frightening a half asleep, half drugged, or disoriented patient to be met with a bullet.

Nope. Nope. Nope.

If you can't sleep without a gun while in the hospital, you've got bigger problems than whatever brought you there.

MSO4foru, ADN

Specializes in Hospice Home Care and Inpatient. Has 16 years experience.

Nope nope nope.

JadedCPN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU. Has 15 years experience.

Assuming you were arguing against the gun at the bedside, I would love to hear what kind of rationale your friend had in support of a gun at the hospital?!

rnrazzil, ADN

Has 4 years experience.

Thanks everyone for responses! Let me start by saying that I'm on the same page with "absolutely not" being my instantaneous response when my man brought it up the other day. Honestly, he lives for getting a rise out of me, and I love proving him wrong, which is probably why I took it as far as I did.

I live in Phoenix, so while gun laws vary from state to state, the information I found pertained specifically to Maricopa County. I started by googling the basic gun laws - in the state of Arizona you can open carry without a permit at the age of 18, and can carry concealed without a permit at 21. Obviously several other criterial have to be met (I.e., no previous felony conviction, never deemed persistently or acutely disabled, or a danger to self or others, etc.), but just about anyone can carry a gun here.

I figured I would have to find hospitals somewhere in the fine print, but I couldn't find it anywhere on the azleg.gov website. The best I could find was this document outlining FAQs pertaining to AZ gun laws:

https://www.phoenix.gov/policesite/Documents/088411.pdf

It contains a list of places that firearm carry is generally prohibited. Two of these bullet points stood out to me as places that could pertain to hospitals:

  • Federal buildings

I believe this would include hospitals such as the VA, and then...

  • State or local government/private establishments or events when asked by the operator/sponsor/agent. Most government facilities will provide a location to temporarily store a firearm. Persons who refuse to leave and/or secure their weapon are trespassing and can be cited or arrested for ARS 13-1502 or ARS 13-1503, depending on the venue

This would include just about all other hospitals, such as the community hospitals here, or privately owned facilities, such as Mayo Clinic.

So with that information I figured I had my answer - but when I presented it to my gleeful debater, he argued that the Second Amendment, being a federal law, would supersede any local or state laws. Determined to prove him wrong, I continued my research.

I had no idea who to call. I ended up starting with the Attorney General's Office for the State of Arizona. I think I left a voicemail? Honestly I spoke with so many people over the course of the next hour, I forget all my exact steps. Next up, I tried calling the ATF Phoenix Field Office. He suggested I contact the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, assuming the hospital would be under their jurisdiction. I called MCSO and was transferred to the Department of Public Safety and then transferred again to the Duty Office. The deputy I spoke with told me that it would come down to the policy of that individual hospital, which blew my mind, because I feel like even if there was a well-established policy regarding firearms, I just see placing the firearm in storage and returning it to a patient upon discharge to be a huge liability in and of itself. A million different circumstantial questions come to mind thinking of that situation. Anyways, the officer told me that they would leave it to be resolved between the hospital and the gun-wielding patient, and that was the best answer I could get.

In the end, my stubborn boyfriend continued to argue that in the event he was awaiting admission in the ER and was denied care, or care was delayed because he had a firearm on him, he'd have a winning lawsuit. I told him that I see what he's getting at, but if this was the case, and every patient was armed, there'd be a whole lot less nurses in this world.

rnrazzil, ADN

Has 4 years experience.

I just typed up a huge post about everything I was able to find on this. I hit the "Submit Reply" button and it posted, but it's in maroon/purple font and says that it's hidden. Someone help here.

whalestales

Specializes in Nursing Student.

19 minutes ago, rnrazzil said:

Thanks everyone for responses! Let me start by saying that I'm on the same page with "absolutely not" being my instantaneous response when my man brought it up the other day. Honestly, he lives for getting a rise out of me, and I love proving him wrong, which is probably why I took it as far as I did.

I live in Phoenix, so while gun laws vary from state to state, the information I found pertained specifically to Maricopa County. I started by googling the basic gun laws - in the state of Arizona you can open carry without a permit at the age of 18, and can carry concealed without a permit at 21. Obviously several other criterial have to be met (I.e., no previous felony conviction, never deemed persistently or acutely disabled, or a danger to self or others, etc.), but just about anyone can carry a gun here.

I figured I would have to find hospitals somewhere in the fine print, but I couldn't find it anywhere on the azleg.gov website. The best I could find was this document outlining FAQs pertaining to AZ gun laws:

https://www.phoenix.gov/policesite/Documents/088411.pdf

It contains a list of places that firearm carry is generally prohibited. Two of these bullet points stood out to me as places that could pertain to hospitals:

  • Federal buildings

I believe this would include hospitals such as the VA, and then...

  • State or local government/private establishments or events when asked by the operator/sponsor/agent. Most government facilities will provide a location to temporarily store a firearm. Persons who refuse to leave and/or secure their weapon are trespassing and can be cited or arrested for ARS 13-1502 or ARS 13-1503, depending on the venue

This would include just about all other hospitals, such as the community hospitals here, or privately owned facilities, such as Mayo Clinic.

So with that information I figured I had my answer - but when I presented it to my gleeful debater, he argued that the Second Amendment, being a federal law, would supersede any local or state laws. Determined to prove him wrong, I continued my research.

I had no idea who to call. I ended up starting with the Attorney General's Office for the State of Arizona. I think I left a voicemail? Honestly I spoke with so many people over the course of the next hour, I forget all my exact steps. Next up, I tried calling the ATF Phoenix Field Office. He suggested I contact the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, assuming the hospital would be under their jurisdiction. I called MCSO and was transferred to the Department of Public Safety and then transferred again to the Duty Office. The deputy I spoke with told me that it would come down to the policy of that individual hospital, which blew my mind, because I feel like even if there was a well-established policy regarding firearms, I just see placing the firearm in storage and returning it to a patient upon discharge to be a huge liability in and of itself. A million different circumstantial questions come to mind thinking of that situation. Anyways, the officer told me that they would leave it to be resolved between the hospital and the gun-wielding patient, and that was the best answer I could get.

In the end, my stubborn boyfriend continued to argue that in the event he was awaiting admission in the ER and was denied care, or care was delayed because he had a firearm on him, he'd have a winning lawsuit. I told him that I see what he's getting at, but if this was the case, and every patient was armed, there'd be a whole lot less nurses in this world.

@rnrazzil Is it this post? I can still see it

JadedCPN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU. Has 15 years experience.

I just want to say I appreciate your stubbornness 😂

rnrazzil, ADN

Has 4 years experience.

1 hour ago, whalestales said:

@rnrazzil Is it this post? I can still see it

Yes that's it! Thank you! I don't know what happened there

whalestales

Specializes in Nursing Student.

11 minutes ago, rnrazzil said:

Yes that's it! Thank you! I don't know what happened there

Probably just got flagged to be reviewed because of extended talk about guns. Just to make sure no threats were made. If I had to guess 🤷‍♀️

adventure_rn, BSN

Specializes in NICU, PICU.

Absolutely not.

Earning a driver's license gives me permission to drive a car--it doesn't give me permission to drive 100 mph in the wrong direction down the highway. Having a permit to carry a gun doesn't mean that you get to ignore the rules and carry it with you wherever you darn well please. SMH.

People have rights, but to exercise those rights you have to act in accordance with the law.

I understand the rationale behind personal gun ownership for hunting or self-defense, but there's no possible reason that it would be appropriate for patients/families to carry a gun in the hospital.

Yes, I'm sure there's some liability to storing patients' weapons, but it's obviously a smaller liability than letting them loose in the hospital. If the weapons (or contraband) are illegal, they can be turned over by security to the police instead of giving them back to the patient (most commonly done with drugs).

I applaud your determination (it sounds like something I would do), but respectfully, I think you need a better boyfriend. If he would truly argue in favor throwing a fit and getting trespassed/arrested for illegally bringing a gun into a hospital just to prove a point (instead of just leaving it in the car so he can be with his sick loved one), he sounds like a kind of a tool.

MiladyMalarkey, ASN, BSN

Specializes in Neuro. Has 2 years experience.

The thought of letting one of my post-op brain surgery patients, who often get confused, seems like the perfect candidate to bring their gun in! Or the narco naive patient who gets confused! Etoh/drug detox, etc. In the history of bad ideas, this would be the worst. Thankfully where I'm from, hospitals are gun free zones.

OUxPhys, BSN, RN

Specializes in Cardiology. Has 4 years experience.

I'm pro gun ownership but patients have no reason to have a gun at the bedside.

You're kidding, right? Hmmmm.....kind of like an emotional support "object"(vs animal). So......nursing grads could have loaded guns at boards, college students could have their Smith and Wesson there while they take finals, postal workers would ALL carry, etc. Just absolutely dumbfounded here.

Unless some POS starts targeting hospitals for soft targets it doesn’t make a lot of sense. On the other hand, I do see the need for well trained and well armed security at a hospital. I wouldn’t feel very safe with Paul Blart mall cop guarding me, but I feel very safe at the VA hospital when I visit there. They have some very respectable and well trained officers.

Edited by anewmanx