On the morning of June 8th, I was openly carrying a GLOCK 17 in a Fobus retention holster and had to get some medical tests done. I didn’t have any problem where I had blood drawn. There were no “gun free zone” signs on the door.

Next I went to the Yuma Regional Medical Center (YRMC) for a chest X-ray. It serves as a place to have medical tests done for the entire area, part of the Yuma hospital complex.

They’ve banned guns on their facility ever since the concealed carry shall-issue law was passed in 1994. Arizona law requires public facilities to “check” firearms if they are banned in the facility. The symbol on the door at YRMC consists of the standard gun in a red circle with a slash mark. I think Texas, with its 30.06 and 30.07 signs, has the right idea.

I ignored the sign and walked in. There were a dozen or so people in the waiting room. I walked up to the counter and handed over my referral. The lady immediately said “go to the third desk,” pointing through a doorway. I didn’t have time to declare that I was armed. No one seemed to notice or care.

To the third desk I went where a pleasant woman was on the other side. She started to give me instructions, so I interrupted and said, “I have a personal firearm. The procedure to check it has been to call security, then they come and check it for me.”

She didn’t hesitate. She said “we trust you.” She gave me some simple instructions and told me to have a seat in another waiting room down the hall. There were another dozen people there.

I’d barely been seated and opened my book when a lady called my name. It couldn’t have been more than a three minutes from he time I entered the building.

She introduced herself as the technician who would take my x-ray and asked me to follow her. It wasn’t a difficult task. She was a lovely young woman.

She told me to take off my shirt, because she did not want the buttons to interfere with the x-ray. I asked if I should remove my phone from the belt holster, and she said it wasn’t necessary.

 

I’d removed my sunglasses and hat, and had already placed the holstered GLOCK on the counter, though I wasn’t required to do it for the X-ray. She was completely unconcerned.

The X-rays were quick and, of course, painless. She escorted me to the corridor and pointed the correct way out. I walked back out into the sunshine and decided to take a couple of pictures. I put down my book on a bench and moved away for some different perspectives.

When I came back, the book was gone. I went inside, through the same door, ignoring the sign, and went up to the counter for a second time. The book was on the counter, cover still warm from the sun. Someone had turned it in, believing it was forgotten. Again, there was no reaction to my being armed, just an acknowledgement that the book had just been turned in.

As I walked out, a woman sitting on one of the benches said she had turned the book in. I thanked her. She said, in a pleasant voice, that I looked like I was on safari. I’ve heard that a time or two before. Mostly, I get complements on the hat.

The next day I went back to my doctor’s office, to discuss the test results. I was openly carrying the GLOCK. When I was on the examination table, the holstered GLOCK was on the counter a few feet away.

My doctor isn’t a shooter, but she, or her staff, have never had a problem with my carrying in the office. On that visit, the receptionist made a joke about me having to rid my self of “twenty pounds of gear” before I was weighed. I’m sure that my gear weighed less than 10 pounds. I had my camera, Sony recorder, spare batteries, and change with me.

In spite of the hospital administration, open carry has been normalized in Yuma, Arizona.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. Gun Watch

58 Responses to Open Carry at Arizona’s Yuma Regional Medical Center

  1. I just got a Glock 17. I had wanted one ever since I put my baseball mitts on one. I love putting 124gr through it. I live in Texas and I see the 30.06 and the 30.07 signs quite frequently.

    • Around here, the doc would take the Glock as payment for services rendered. Better than chickens.

      By the way, don’t the orange lenses in your glasses hurt your eyes in bright sun?

  2. You know you’ve gotten old when you tell someone you’re armed and they respond “it’s ok, we trust you.” At least you didn’t get “Well bless your heart!”

      • Not true for the complete South, unless you’re talking about the Deep South. I live in Fayetteville, NC and every once in a while I open carry some of my larger Pistols such as my Citadel Government model 1911 even though I have a CCH. I’ve open carried in Wallyworld, Food Lion, my Doctors Office, Home Depot, etc…..and very rarely get a second look. I’ll get the occasional double take, but rarely does anyone comment. If you open carry and act in a confident, non-threatening manner, and carry yourself as someone who is doing something that is perfectly normal (for me it is), most people don’t see you as a threat. I think most people, at least around here, know that someone who is armed and looking to commit nefarious acts, is not going to nonchalantly walk around with a large handgun fully visible on their belt and not looking or acting nervous and shady. I could never imagine myself ever living somewhere where people freak out just at the sight of someone walking around openly armed, who is just going about their normal business. I know there are places like that, but I will never live in one for sure.

  3. Currently working on Indiana. I can’t tell if people don’t notice or don’t care. It’s pretty Blue around here but OC is 99.9 % uneventful.

  4. My wife had lunch at a mom & pop sandwich shop today. She came home & mentioned that a guy at a table nearby was open carrying (completely legal w/o permit here in Virginia, permit needed for concealed carry only). I asked if she thought he was a cop. Her answer- “Well, he had a walkie-talkie on his belt and his polo shirt was tucked in, so maybe yes; but I didn’t see a badge.” She said nobody seemed to care, just as it should be.
    Protip- Dress like a decent, law-abiding person & people will assume you are one. Go figure.

    • An unfortunately large number of young men shuffling down my city streets holding their pants up with one hand could learn a lot from that comment.

    • I always think tucked in polo shirts are over the top. I tuck in my Columbia fishing shirts, sometimes, though.

    • Wait wait wait, you mean to tell me if I dress and act like a respectful and responsible person I won’t be targeted by law enforcement or judges by normal people?

      I’m calling BS on that

    • I inclined to ask, what shop was that?

      It may have been me she saw ^_^. .

      Glock 19 with WML in a Kydex OWB holster. When I’m not at work I rarely conceal carry. What’s funny is how few people seem to notice (me at all, and I’m not exactly a small fella), or care…that I’m there or that I’m open carrying.

      • Forgot to mention, I’m also a HAM radio operator.

        Not giving my call sign though. People could use it to see through my internet secret identity.

  5. A few years ago I went to a doctors appointment open carrying. The doc got about halfway through the exam when suddenly he looked down, looked back up and said ‘is that a gun’? When I replied in the affirmative, he asked ‘You killed anyone?’ Not yet, I said…

  6. “and asked me to follow her. It wasn’t a difficult task. She was a lovely young woman.”
    Great mental video…

  7. Well, I have not carried a handgun in an openly visible holster into a hospital. I have carried like that to many other locations. No one seems to notice or care any more.

  8. As for the dressing decently and open carrying, I can confirm from personal experience… no one cares and if they do notice they assuming you’re a cop/security 95% of the time.

    • Which is a problem… People need to get used to REGULAR PEOPLE carrying, and not just assuming people with guns are special, ie cops or security people. I’ll open carry in blue jeans, t-shirt and regular shoes, or shorts, t-shirt and sandals… I’m not getting dressed up so I can look like someone I’m not.

      • Anyone wearing clothes must assumed to possibly being armed. If they look like a street punk, assume they are armed and dangerous.
        If they are dressed like a Hollywood MAFIA hitman, Hollywood is the key, they may be armed with a prop.

        In Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, all ranchers and farmers are armed.

        Nobody is alarmed.

        • Yes because jeans (no holes and a belt) and a polo is such a horrible way for people to dress when out in public… I honestly miss the days when I was a kid (mid 80’s) and places actually would have a dress code!

  9. Heh, I just get weighed with the gun on me. Once you’ve got the baseline it doesn’t much matter.

      • The make and model doesn’t matter. The baseline is what matters.

        If you’re 145 lbs with your gun on and you drop to 140 with your gun on, you lost five pounds.

        Besides, in reality your doc doesn’t care exactly what you weigh, they’re just looking at the trend and looking for something like a massive change in a short time. They know that clothing varies and can change your weight by a few pounds. They don’t care.

        The only way it matters is if you’re doing a sports weigh-in.

  10. Even in Massachusetts I can open carry if I’m dressed decently. Most people instantly assume I’m security (I am, that helps), sometimes a cop.

  11. I had the same experience in my medical office in FL. “Doctor, do I need to take off my gun for the X-ray?” On another occasion, and during palpating for lower back pain, I came upon a hunk of metal, a .45 1911. Another married couple showed me their respective carry guns. Another Middle Eastern patient ask me if he could bring his nicely accessorized AR-15 for his next appointment for “show and tell’. It must be the American Rifleman magazines in my waiting room.

  12. Sorry to voice what may be an unpopular opinion on this story, but I, for one, think open carry in general is stupid and silly. In terms of self-protection, as many others point out, it can be counter productive, when compared to concealed carry. I am certainly not against concealed carry of firearms. I have a concealed carry permit (required in my state) and always carry, usually ignoring signs, etc to the contrary, including my doctor’s office. I do open carry on the farm and in the woods, but that’s different than open carry in the general public. Open carry in the general public serves to inflame the anti-gunners (and realize there are more of them then there are of us…just look up the city population vs. the rural population, opinions of the younger generations, etc..) and, I think, is just a form of exhibitionism. In the long run, open carry is not supporting our rights as much as it is counterproductive to continuing our rights, since we need the tolerance of the vast majority of the non-gun-interested population’s continued ignoring and nonsupport of the anti-gunners efforts. “In your face” open carry in places where they are with their kids and family doesn’t help us in the long run. (So, there you have it…fire away with the nasty comments…)

    • FlaBoy,

      I’m of mixed thoughts on this topic. I don’t think guns (and gun owners) should be stigmatized, but that horse is well and truly out of the barn. I’m not sure that open-carrying in the current environment is going to reverse that trend. However, I certainly don’t object to those who want to, and can, exercise that right.

      To add to your point though, I used to be a frequent patron of Half Price Books stores in the area. Although the 30.06 laws had been on the books for a long time, the owner of HPB (an avid anti-gun person) did not apparently know about it. Unfortunately, once Texas passed the open-carry legislation and the accompanying 30.07 language, she – like many other libs – raced to put both 30.07 AND 30.06 signage on their stores. Now, I either have to be rendered defenseless, or in violation of the law in order to browse a HPB store. This situation only came about due to the introduction of open-carry for handguns pinging up against the irrational fears of a liberal store owner. And thus did the attempted restoration of our Rights end up further curtailing them instead.

      • FlaBoy’s comment has been elevated to a separate post. Please re-post your comment when it appears.

      • I honestly believe that any store that bans legal carry of a firearm should be sued in the same manner as a business that bans LGBT customers from obtaining services in their stores. No difference. Both are denying folks of their Constitutional rights under the Bill of Rights. Enough lawsuits will bring this to an end quickly.

    • The problem with open carry in an urban area is that you WILL be targeted for a mugging and theft of your gun. You can’t legally draw and warn the bad guys [ they roam in packs ] until they actual DO SOMETHING. By that time they have your arms pinned and you’re helpless.
      Unless you area cop with backup, a radio and a security holster, and you want to open carry, be sure to have your own squad with you so the street punks see an armed group that can’t be easily taken down.

      • Let’s see, I have open carried for about 3 years now in a very heavily populated area. How many times have I been assaulted? Oh, yeah, NONE. This may shock some of you but in most of America there aren’t roaming packs of feral muggers attacking people in broad daylight.

      • That’s why we need way more open carriers carrying all the time, and good people need to stay out of bad places around bad people doing bad things.

        Oh, and please, show some stats about how this WILL happen. 90% of states allow open carry in some form, so there MUST be some stats out there… please cite them.

    • In the apartment complex I live in, I (when not dressed for work) open carry all the time.

      The kids in the neighborhood see the gun. Their parents see the gun. The office people, and maintenance see the gun. No one cares.

      I’ve had a few people ask me if I’m an instructor (I use an air gun and paper targets in the garage to teach MY kids ( or family, but none of my kids friends), and I’ve had a lot of people ask a lot of questions about firearms in general.

      It has proven to be a great ice breaker.

    • Please feel free to speak your mind, but in your own private place, not in public where anyone can hear you. That’s how you need to treat the First Amendment, since that’s what you think of the Second.

  13. In my on going “open carry” vs “concealed carry” discussions, I often take the position that if more people open carried the more common, everyday and acceptable guns would be in all of America, not just Arizona.

  14. Tactically Open Carry is a fail. It was yesterday, is today and it will be tomorrow. Strategically Open Carry is a long term winner. How we manage this paradox is going to determine how long we continue to hold to the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

  15. Fla boy,
    I disagree with you
    If thousands of people start walking around with open carry, it will normalize the presence of guns
    Anti-gunners will see people every day in Walmart, Publix, and in the street walking around with guns and not threatening anyone
    We need to reverse years of indoctrination that guns are bad by making guns normal again
    Right now, people are walking around with concealed weapons and the anti-gunners don’t know that lots of people around them are armed
    Open carry helps us make the presence of guns commonplace

    • I completely agree with the logic Docduracoat uses. If open carry was as common as the automobile, everyone would accept it just as the do cars.

    • I agree! Especially when Sharia law abiders are present, and constutional citizens will defend our families!

  16. This is a post I made in 2015 in Gilbert AZ.

    “Yesterday we went grocery shopping. Living in the free state of Arizona, I decided to open carry one of my pistols. Only 2 people seemed to notice, and said something: one was an young man around 8 years old. I had backed up without looking, and bumped into his mothers grocery cart. She apologized, I apologized, and we went on our way. About 3 minutes later, she saw us again and told me her son said “Mom, he could have killed you! He has a gun!”. She was laughing when she told me, and had no issue with my carrying. The other person was a gentleman who I noticed in the produce section. I noticed him because he was open carrying also, and at he same time he noticed me. We nodded at each other, said hi, and moved on knowing that we are sheepdogs among the sheep, watching for wolves.”

    • I sure like your last comment! The other day walking out of Costco, i picked out a dude carrying concealed,and he noticed me as well. We both gave a thumbs up. Great comment!

  17. My folks lived in Yuma years ago during their retirement, nice to see an article like this! I remember my dad taking me see that hospital one night to observe several pregnant women waiting on the grounds, some hiding. Am sure that they did not have insurance or could not afford health care. I lived in Yuma one summer, helping the folks, and determined this Idaho dude doesnt belong there either in the summer or winter. Lots of theft, car jacking, etc. Thank you for your great articles, stay safe!

  18. F.Y.I. Stay well away from the MRI area. I remember reading about a LEO who discovered what the M in MRI stands for the hard way.

    http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2011/02/robert-farago/the-only-truly-accidental-discharge-ever/

    Another consideration is that sometimes “forensic” patients (criminals) are brought in to hospitals and they have been known to grab a handgun from a less than alert LEO in an attempt to escape.

    Last but not least is the presence of tanks/cylinders of compressed gases, which when punctured or the valve is damaged will careen about doing damage to people and property.

  19. When I was in Arizona I saw many people open carry, I do both at different times for different reasons, most people get used to it after a while and don’t freak about it.

  20. Question of the Day: Is Open Carry Stupid and Silly?
    I for one, think open carry in general is stupid and silly.
    It is for those that usually suffer from mental shortcomings
    and severe Ego-Deficencies.
    In terms of self-protection, as many other gun owners/carryers point out, it can be serriously counter productive… because you are setting yourself up for being targeted, when compared to concealed carry and having the advantage of surprise action on your side.
    That is the reason why I am a strong promotor of concealed carry of firearms.
    Open carry in the general public serves to inflame the anti-gunners (and realize there are more of them then there are of us…just look up the city population vs. the rural population, opinions of the younger generations, etc..) and, I think, it’s just a form of exhibitionism.
    In adition…
    In the long run, open carry is not in favor to support our rights as much as it is counterproductive to continuing our rights, since we need the tolerance of the vast majority of the non-gun-interested population’s continued ignoring and nonsupport of the anti-gunners efforts. “In your face” open carry in places where they are with their kids and family does NOT help us in the long run.

  21. This Yuma medical center has the craziest people working here, Teri Norris, who was in charge of the housing the medical center owns, said they “cannot keep guns out, that they cannot go against the laws of the state” REALLY moron? YOU own the housing and you cannot make up your own policies. Well she lied under oath so take it for what it is. They have a nurse who drags her scruffy alcoholic husband to the apts, he is a drinker druggie and liar. Then the risk mgr ann totsch was lied about working for the DEA (Laugh OUT LOUD!!!) and runs around bragging about her relatives that killed joseph smith in illinois . THEN further lied and used the chief of police to puff her tall tales , to the housing coordinator teresa saavedra who has criminal records herself. now their leader and gullible gang mentality larry sucui put in a fraud complaint. of course posting victims pictures in the ed “wanted type poster ”
    and writing lies to interoffice jerks. a real sham this place is. be careful and watch your back. it is the wild wild west !!! Oh yea and Dorita Pool , med surg nurse, has 3 guns but denies threatening another nurse with 3 bullets! a bunch of meth head acting gun happy , dangerous ones !!!!

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