Does Your Doctor Want To Disarm You?
December 21st, 2023
5 minute read
Ed. Note: This article touches on subjects that include carrying firearms and medical care. Nothing in this article should be considered medical or legal advice. Seek out the services of qualified legal and medical professionals if you have any doubts about your state’s laws or healthcare. The opinions expressed in the article are those of the author.
Today, I’ll give you a peek behind the curtain into what it’s like to practice medicine in the Deep South in the 21st century. For starters, we physicians have this weird insular vocabulary that tends to separate us from normal people.
And then, there is the pervasive preoccupation with mankind’s more objectionable bodily functions. Basically, there is little if any glamor to be found in modern medicine. This is can be one of the nastiest jobs in the world. But, I digress…
Most every physician spends between three and seven years in post-graduate specialty training after medical school. During this weird professional purgatory you are indeed a real, live physician, but everybody knows you’re just dumb as a sack of hammers. In that regard, it is not unlike being a Second Lieutenant in the Army.
You also get paid wages inadequate to support the building custodian in a third-world sweatshop. You do, however, get to hang out with the real doctors in the doctors’ lounge at the hospital, so there’s that.
One fine day I was sitting in the corner of the doctors’ lounge at a major metropolitan hospital while all the actual physicians were talking up their various investment strategies. Somebody either felt sorry for me or just wanted to rub it in that I was as broke as a congressman’s moral compass, so they asked me about my personal investment plan.
Knowing full well I didn’t have two dimes to rub together, there were snickers all around. I responded sincerely with, “I typically invest in heavy metals…lead, copper, brass, and the like. Because ammunition will be the currency of the new millennium.” And that’s how I got to eat by myself for the rest of my rotation.
The point is simply I’m not a typical physician. I didn’t start medical school until I was 32. Before that, I was an Army officer in the combat arms.
Most physicians, even the grouchy ones who do surgery on people for a living, are usually pretty soft-hearted blokes underneath. I am perhaps a bit crustier. I can, however, give you some first-person insights into the delicate interplay between firearms and your friendly neighborhood healthcare provider.
In general, the institution of medicine doesn’t seem to much care for privately owned firearms. However, as regards individual physicians, you might be surprised. Some of the most extensive gun collections I have ever seen were owned by doctors.
Since I didn’t start practicing medicine until I was 40, I had to land this cool side hustle writing for gun publications to feed my curious ballistic addiction. However, I have found that a surprisingly large percentage of doctors, at least down here in the Deep South where I live, are actually closet gun nerds.
My electronic medical record includes “Guns in the Home” as an action item I am supposed to talk about with patients right alongside illicit drug use, excessive alcohol consumption, and unsafe sexual practices. For me, this would degenerate into a long rambling discourse on caliber selection, barrel length, and tactical accessories that makes it difficult to get any real work done.
My own state of Mississippi had its fleeting love affair with open carry. For a brief period, folks would come in to get their blood pressure medicine refilled or have their flu symptoms addressed with a handgun hanging jauntily off their belts. Then we embraced constitutional carry and everybody started wearing their shirttails untucked. Just like any other place down here, guns are just background clutter. Nobody much cares.
Some medical offices do post those “No Guns Allowed” signs on the door, and they carry the same legal weight as they might at the movie theater or shopping mall. Most all hospitals sport those signs as well. Any actual criminal dissuaded by that signage is probably too dim to wander about outside unsupervised, but again, I digress.
My professional advice to the sick armed American is to leave your gun safely secured in the car during your first visit to see your local sawbones. See if you see any signs regarding concealed carry. After the interminable wait and the inevitable ordeal with the thermometer, scale, and blood pressure machine, you should finally see your provider.
I personally would gently ask about their policy on firearms. Don’t be confrontational or combative. Just make it a standard part of the get-acquainted process. If your medical practitioner’s worldview does not align with your own, then you can consider finding another doctor. Trust me, the indomitable power of capitalism drives everything about the practice of medicine.
I am armed whenever I am not asleep or in the shower. That includes when I am at work. I like to say that the safest place in any crowd is standing right behind me. That timeless axiom also holds true at my medical clinic.
When I am at work, I carry with an empty chamber. Trust me, acknowledging that in a venue like this is like to start a debate. However, I work around kids and will not tolerate even the theoretical possibility of an accident. Also, it’s not unusual for some little old lady to give me a quick hug as they leave the exam room. Not infrequently they will jump a bit when they feel the Springfield Armory Hellcat RDP perched prominently on my right hip underneath my scrubs.
The reality is, I have been armed every time they have seen me for the past quarter century, and they never even knew it. I’m fairly certain that’s the point of legal concealed carry, anyway.
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