Guns at the Bedside

by rnrazzil rnrazzil, ADN (New) New

Has 5 years experience.

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Ado Annie, ASN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg. Has 11 years experience. 530 Posts

On 6/22/2020 at 2:21 AM, rnrazzil said:

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.

Oh hellll no

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience. 67 Articles; 14,009 Posts

Years ago, a good friend of mine was nursing supervisor in a VA hospital out west.  He was shot in the butt by a veteran who was unhappy with his VA benefits.  My friend got an award of some kind for bravery, but he says it's bogus.  He got shot while running away from the irate veteran and his .45!   The bullet passed through the nurse's station desk before hitting my friend, and he got an *** full of splinters as well as the fired projectile.  

A colleague who gave a patient's son an update on his mother's (poor) prognosis was shot in the abdomen by the son.  The colleague survived, the mother did not.

A colleague in the mental health department was shot in the head by a patient -- no clue why.  He then shot himself.  They were both in surgery for upwards of 12 hours.  The patient survived; the psychiatrist did not.  

My best friend and former boss was once shot at through the windows in the ICU while she was caring for a patient whose husband had attempted to beat her to death.  He was outside in the parking lot with a rifle, trying to finish the job.

I've been around guns my whole life, but the hospital is no place for them unless they're being toted by a trained security guard, a corrections officer accompanying a prisoner or a law enforcement officer who has signed in with security.  

Oh yeah.  I was threatened by armed federal agents because my febrile and delirious patient called her brother and his partner and told them the NP was "trying to kill" her.  They showed up, didn't ask questions, and started waving their guns around and demanding that the NP in question be produced so they could arrest  her.  When I wouldn't produce the NP -- I called my manager instead -- they called the police and demanded my arrest.  The police arrived at the same time as hospital security.  Risk management  mediated the whole thing . . . turns out even law enforcement isn't supposed to be armed in the hospital unless they've registered with security first.  The police didn't get arrested for having their guns on hospital property without alerting security as long as they made  no attempt to arrest hospital employees, the federal agents were removed and the NP snuck out the back door and wouldn't come back to work until the patient was discharged.  



NurseAnalise, BSN

Specializes in Cardiology. Has 7 years experience. 5 Posts

Absolutely not. I'd have to look up the legal allowance for this but on a personal level, I cannot abide by this. Thinking about how easy it is to get a conceal/carry permit in some states... there is absolutely no reason a patient needs a gun at bedside. To protect them from what, those mean mean nurses who are trying to provide care? Plus, factoring in the possibility of mental status changes due to delirium, encephalopathy, drugs, anesthesia, ect... and then a confused patient has access to a gun? Seems problematic to say the least. 

Jon E Soskis

Jon E Soskis

Specializes in Emergency R.N. / Snakebite expert / Author. Has 48 years experience. 1 Article; 9 Posts

Where there are no guns there is no gun violence. No guns should ever be allowed inside any hospital ever, open carry insanity or not. This really should include law enforcement, who should be required to secure their weapon(s) in a locked box outside the hospital. People wrestle guns from law enforcement not infrequently, which included our E.R., followed by the policeman being shot by the assailant, who was cuffed in front so he could allegedly go to the bathroom. The policeman was taken to the O.R. as soon as he could be reached, and did O.K., and the assailant killed himself in the tiny bathroom where the fight of the policeman's life took place as he tried to take the weapon back from the assailant. It would have been a LOT simpler to not have a gun available in the first place. 

Too, whenever a patient arrives in handcuffs they should be cuffed to the stretcher, or at least to their wheelchair, whether or not the law enforcement officer sees that as necessary. That simple step prevents escape and snatching a child on the way out the door...yep.

Benefits vs risk always...No guns in hospitals, please.

Squidpdx, CNA, LPN

Specializes in Ambulatory Care, Community Health, HIV. Has 6 years experience. 70 Posts

Wow, I live in Az too, and am kind of blown away by how lax (read: nonexistent) the gun laws are here. I know we are a super conservative state but I didn't realize the extent of it. Scary. 

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 20 years experience. 4 Articles; 4,638 Posts

On 10/4/2021 at 9:30 AM, Squidpdx said:

Wow, I live in Az too, and am kind of blown away by how lax (read: nonexistent) the gun laws are here. I know we are a super conservative state but I didn't realize the extent of it. Scary. 

AZ is an "Open Carry" state along with 18 other states. I happen to own 4 firearms but live in California which is not open carry however I have a concealed carry permit pending due to my quite sane but very dangerous Ex who has threatened to kill me more than once. Law enforcement and the criminal justice system are useless. They don't prevent crime but arrive after a crime has occurred and investigate it. That being said I would never carry a firearm into my place of work. When I retire I do plan to move to an open carry state, but until then they stay locked and put away except at home so that if the EX every shows up there I will protect myself. 




Has 5 years experience. 551 Posts

In Texas I've seen in home health,  guns just laying on the table when you go to a patients house. But in hospitals or any health facility that I'm aware of, there is a very clear sign outside the door that prohibits carrying a gun inside a facility. 

psu_213, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency, Telemetry, Transplant. Has 13 years experience. 3,878 Posts

On 6/24/2020 at 5:44 PM, rnrazzil said:

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.  He can not bring it inside in the first place, or he can hand it to security.  Any delay would be his fault.  But it is very American of him not only to have a misguided view of the 2nd Amendment, but, furthermore, believe that he will prevail just because he says "lawsuit."



19 Posts

With the amount of times that confused/delirious patients have threatened me or thought we had broken into their houses and were harassing them, no way I’d go for allowing this or work with an organization that allowed it.


JohnHood, BSN

Specializes in Critical Care, ER and Administration. Has 36 years experience. 25 Posts

A hospital or any business can legally ban guns on the premises. In my state it is illegal to have a gun on campus if you have a psyche unit in the hospital.