In recent years, a number of people have encountered their doctors or other healthcare care providers (such as Physician’s Assistants) asking about guns in the house and/or concealed carry. Granted, some might wonder why a doctor might ask such a thing, unless of course you’re seeing a dermatologist and they wonder what kind of gun oil you use.

Some people have found gun oils and cleaners to be detrimental to sensitive skin. Hey, some are even eco-friendly and non-toxic, like Frog Lube. Even the gun industry cares about the environment. Anyway, why would a physician ask about these things?

There are some people within the healthcare community that see firearms or more specifically firearm injuries and deaths as an epidemiological problem. They aren’t entirely off their rocker; just like a disease, violent crime and gun deaths have risk factors and there are things that can be done to prevent them.

For instance, keeping a gun in the home or carrying a sidearm in a concealed carry holster can be a very effective treatment for an outbreak of certain parasites – such as the kind that like to rob people or worse. So in that sense, guns are actually a treatment of sorts for a disease common to civilized societies.

In short, many physicians see firearms as a risk factor concerning the health of their patients. They may wish to ask you about your guns and/or whether you concealed carry (and according to an appellate court decision in Florida, they can) as a person that has a professional (and possibly personal) stake in your continued existence.

They certainly want more of your money.

The motivation of individual practitioners may vary. Some may be anti-gun, some may genuinely want to know what steps you are taking to ensure the safety of yourself and those around you. The attitude and beliefs of every doctor, just as with every person, varies by individual.

Also, it is undeniable that most deaths by gunshot wound are suicide attempts. A health care provider would not only be right to be concerned, but would in fact be remiss if they didn’t ask someone about guns in the home if they showed signs of depression or other neurological illness.

Then again, what you do at home isn’t really anyone else’s business unless they have a reason for it to be, including your guns.

So, if your doctor asks…should you tell him or her?

I believe the best course is to ask why they want to know. Genuine concern and interest from a physician is part of their job but encouraging patients to disarm themselves totally because of a lack of respect for Second Amendment rights is not. Therefore, find out why they want to know before going any further.

And if they’re a gun control advocate, tell them it’s none of their business. What’s your take?

70 Responses to Question of the Day: Should You Tell Your Doctor About Your Guns And Concealed Carry?

  1. I really don’t see it as their business unless they have reason to believe I’m mentally unstable. A doctor’s job is to diagnose, treat, or prevent illness. I already know that putting bullets in my body is bad for my health. I don’t need them to tell me that. If I happen to find myself with bullets in my body, then I’ll seek their help.

    • A lot of times they ask about your guns because there are a lot of people that were never taught the four rules, didn’t have a dad to show them how to shoot, or think it’s pretty standard to have a loaded revolver in their nightstand when they 3 kids under the age of 6 in the house. They’re not bad people just nobody explained it to them and they never knew to ask. Doctors ask these kind of questions because preventive medicine is the cheapest and safest medicine. and even though 9 out of 10 people will tell the doctor they know what they’re doing with their guns there is that one the thought the gun lock that came with the pistol was just a fancy padlock.

      • preventive medicine is the cheapest and safest medicine

        A logical fail and demonstrated to be incorrect. One of the major problems with obumercare that has lead to an explosion in the medical costs. Your theory might become correct if it was possible to know who was going to contract a particular malady or have a particular injury. Perhaps could pretreat and thus “save: some $. Since this is not possible the left’s equal treatment of everyone, including those that would never have the malady in question. Thus the progtard love things such as mass immunizations of a every expanding # of compliants and the annual “physical”.

        It’s not 1880, get a automatic for the nightstand.

  2. It’s none of his damn business! Inanimate objects have no place in the doctor’s office as far as discussion. Most doctors are anti-gun that’s a fact it has to do with their education and Medicine background. No need to discuss firearms or any such activity in a doctor’s office. Hey you guys need to fix this jumping around crap on your phone the truth about guns keeps popping up and moving everything around it’s a real pain in the ass.

  3. I dont see a Doctor, i see a PA instead, and she rocks, all the past “doctors” i was seeing were complete crap.

    If you want to be sick, see a doctor, if you want to be healthy..

    See a PA.

    • Now that’s just silly. She’s probably just missing things on exam and pressing “wnl” and “enter” on her EMR template.

      From a guy in the know 🙂

      • At my last doctor, the nurse practitioner was awesome. Combining that she was more of a people person and was less busy overall than the doctors probably helped a lot.

        The PA was so-so.

        It all really varies, just like with the doctors.

  4. I regularly discuss guns and gun related issues with my Dr. We often discuss accuracy, personnel defense training (we both attended Mag 40 recently) and other things. But then again, she is a dyed in the wool gun nut (her words not mine).
    But, absent that, the answer is no…actually its: oh HELL no!

  5. I’ve worked in health care for decades and really hate that they’re asking this shit.

    If you lie and it’s proven, they can cancel your insurance coverage :/

    • Huh? If who lies on what insurance? Health insurers do not typically ask about guns. Hell, I have had health insurance for years and have never filled out a questionnaire (or if I have, it has been so long I don’t remember it). All that health insurers care about are pre-existing conditions, and guns are not a pre-existing health condition.

      Are you saying that the doctors’ malpractice insurers are requiring doctors to ask, and that doctors have to answer honestly that they do?

      I dunno man, this whole comment is entirely bonkers to me. And what we are talking about is lying to (or refusing to answer) one’s doctor, not some rater at a health insurance carrier.

  6. I’m a doctor. Not my business to ask. Except for engaging in conversation regarding my next gun purchase or talk about what powder they use for a particular load 🙂 Not all of us docs are anti-gun, and truly it depends on the geographical area you live in. Probably a lot more anti-gun docs on the East and West Coasts. Here in the Southwest, I know A LOT of docs who have a nice collection of firearms.

    • “Here in the Southwest, I know A LOT of docs who have a nice collection of firearms.”

      Depending on their practice, they can likely afford a lot more-nicer guns than I…

      *mutter* 🙂

        • Gun friendly optician or gun friendly optometrist? As for the optometrist, just ask the one you like is my suggestion.

          I’m in NJ, and when I asked you would have sworn the dude had won the lottery or something. Talking technical details of optics with parallax, coma, etc. and issues with astigmatism, aging/bad eyes and where I needed to focus, etc. He was all jazzed at being able to geek out on the stuff he geeks out on.

          Lots of stuff you can sort out with the optometrist and the opticians just follow the recipe.
          Then you get into the funky glasses you might like for shooting, wrap, etc. In that case, just take sad script as th3e recipe, then work back form the manufacturer to their sales network. It’s not the way to lowest price, but it’s the shortest path to find competency at working with the stuff you want.

    • I count several MD’s, EMT’s, medics and firefighters/EMTs among my customers. No RN’s yet. Gotta do some marketing, I suspect.

      Oh, and dentists. In my experience, dentists can astound with their level of gun collection, shooting and experience. Holy crap, the dentists I’ve met who own guns… a couple of them make me look like a rank n00b.

      • Professional income + extremely limited call demands + set hours = time to spend on hobbies and toys to do so.

        I’d be happy to have more time and less income as an over 55 cardiologist.

        You can decline to give information – but I bet this line of questioning worms it’s way into more electronic medical records templates.

        These answers or data points are Searchable.

  7. I’m looking for a new Doc since my current (and fellow Hunter) is retiring.
    If the new one asks about guns, I’ll tell him he is fired, walk out and bad mouth the shit out of him on Yelp.

    • If it happens once, it means the patient was just being a jerk.
      If a second patient reacts the same way, well, maybe what the AMA is pushing isn’t really such a good business practice…

      I wholeheartedly agree with your position. Any physician who tries pulling that crap has proven themselves too stupid to recognize his/her own ignorance, and that makes them literally dangerous to patients, so I prefer not to be one of those patients.

    • What Tom said.

      I’ve got a rant ready in the wings if any of my docs decide to go down this path.

      Don’t ask about guns and I won’t ask if I can go into the next exam room and practice medicine on your patients.

      Wanks.

    • “What a strange thing to ask, why would you want to know that?”
      “If I say ‘yes’, will you no longer wish to be my doctor?”
      “Tell me about how you protect your family first.”
      “You don’t own a firearm… do you not love your family?”

      I can see all sorts of ways these questions can go.

  8. I fail to see how possessing guns is a concern of my doctor. Therefore any question asked is deferred with no answer. Ask it again and I’ll give no comment. Once more and I’m out of the office and will find a new doctor.

    I don’t need a person I’m paying for services to lecture me on guns. Nor try to soften me up on the subject. I can sure don’t need him telling authorities stories about me and my guns, patient doctor privilege is not going to comfort me.

  9. Doctors ask about gun ownership because they have been (wrongly) convinced that they are screening for a health risk factor.

    Doing this opens the door for them to propagandize people against their Second Amendment rights.

    This constitutes a boundary violation and the patient has several avenues of recourse. HERE: drgo.us/position-statements/the-gun-question/

    Alternately, the patient can seek a 2A-friendly provider. We’re building a referral service to such providers. Here: drgo.us/progundocs/

    • Doctors ask about gun ownership because they have been (wrongly) convinced that they are screening for a health risk factor.

      And in proving themselves to be that ignorant, and to be willing to exercise their ignorance as ‘medical practice’, is definitive proof of their incompetence to practice medicine.

  10. Context is everything. If the question doesn’t pertain to why you’re there, it’s time to find another physician.

  11. I’ve never been asked, though the empty holster might have given it away.
    I did have a physical therapist that was fun to talk to. He collected military bolt action rifles and I turned him on to the works of Jeff Cooper.

  12. Mine asks all the time.

    VP9 or G19? (He went H&K)

    I asked O/U or Semi and appropriate chokes for my first run at Scratch (Imma need a bigger case of Win AA’s).

    We both agreed that if it’s good enough for the Army and Marines we’d both be ok with LE6920’s.

  13. I dodge the question by asking my own non-sequitur question:
    Doc: “Do you own or carry a gun?”
    Me: “Does your mother eat garlic?”
    Doc: “What does that have to do with anything?”
    Me: “Exactly.”

  14. “Should You Tell Your Doctor About Your Guns And Concealed Carry?”

    Only if I’m doing appendix carry while he’s checking me for a hernia.

  15. I’ve discussed guns with some of my doctors. My urologist said. “I think the NRA is right. If someone wants a gun they should be able to have a gun.” Now that’s the kind of guy I want to be checking my prostate.

    OTOH, before I set him straight, my nephrologist (kidney specialist) actually believed that someone could buy a machine gun at Walmart. He also opined that ammunition should cost $5000 per round.

    Based on my current ammo horde, that would make me a very wealthy man, so I wasn’t too pissed off (get it?).

    It amazes me that two intelligent guys working on two parts of the same plumbing could be so different.

  16. Never thought much about it. I know as a HC professional myself I would mention that while we are sharing I’d ask if they still enjoyed anal sex. That should cover that segment of the exam nicely.

  17. Two issues where I don’t have a problem with this and a little story.

    There are basically two reasons that I can see a doctor asking this which I would consider legitimate.

    The first are new parents where this might come up as part of a larger discussion on “baby proofing”. Something along the lines of “Are there guns in the house? OK, well those fall under these guidelines as well. I know they seem heavy for your son/daughter to pick up and, really, they are but they won’t be that way forever and toddlers get into everything…”

    The second is kind of in the same vein but instead of children it would be in the context of a family member with an age related mental affliction like Alzheimer’s or dementia or a family member with mental illness. That is to say: situations where someone in the household doesn’t have their full faculties any longer.

    In either situation a responsible doc asks this question not to pry into your life but to offer advice on dealing with safe storage that the “patient” may not have thought about. A family dealing with the emotional brunt of certain diagnoses may not have thought about grandpa’s problem sending him back to ‘Nam.

    Finally, I had never experienced any anti gun animosity until a few weeks ago. Long story short I’m looking for a Z-Pak on short notice so I went to the urgent care attached to my usual physician’s office.

    The doc I got seemed… “off”. Then when she went to listen to my lungs she said she “Couldn’t hear anything” through my T-shirt. So, without asking she lifts my shirt and there’s my USP.

    And that’s where the freakout starts. She backs away from me like she just saw a alien on my back saying “That’s not cool. Really not cool. You gotta tell me if you’ve got a gun!!”.

    So she tells me that she’ll put in the Rx and be right back… And she leaves me sitting in the exam room for 25 minutes. After that time ticks by I open the door and ask a nurse to find this lady.

    Five more minutes go by before this doctor comes back. She says that she’s written the Rx and then lies and says she’s been back twice and I wasn’t in the room so she assumed I left.

    At that point I explain that this can’t be true and that the Rx she’s given me is one I can’t take, a fact that she should know. This is when she flies off the handle and starts accusing me of illegally carrying a gun in front of everyone in earshot. She yells about non-existent signage (which holds no weight in my state even if it does exist) and yells about laws that similarly don’t exist. Then she storms off ranting and yells back “Next time leave your GUN at home!”.

    I turn to the nurse who’s standing there watching this, with her jaw on the floor, and say “Well, that’s the most unprofessional thing I’ve ever seen”. She composes herself, agrees with me and asks “Do you really have a gun?” to which I reply in the affirmative. She whispers “That’s soooo cool! Where can I get my carry permit?”. I told her what to do.

    So I had to get an “emergency” appointment with my regular doctor to get a Z-Pak, and I’ll be filing a complaint against the original doctor, so yeah, some docs are REALLY anti gun, but hey at least that nurse is getting her permit!

    • If she wrote you a prescription that you can’t take, she committed the necessary act for medical malpractice. (You’d have to have been harmed by taking the medicine to have a worthwhile suit). She really should be reported to her employer, medical board, and maybe even insurer.

  18. “Yep, that’s a rash all right. Are you exposed to any chemicals in the workplace, or in the home? What about your hobbies, DIY mechanics/home repair, gun cleaning solvents?”

    See, it can be appropriate to ask about guns in a medical setting.

  19. Under the progressive administrative state, every interaction with the bureaucracy is politicized. Guns have been turned into a public health issue, and physicians encouraged to see gun ownership from a “dangerous practice” standpoint, for just this reason. Once a practice is “medicalized” it must be treated. And so it goes. In the Soviet Union opposing the state was a mental illness that would get you committed and shot up with Thorazine.

    So, no, I won’t answer that kind of question or anything similar from a doctor. Generally speaking, I think it’s important to let your doctor know that you’re in charge of your illness . . . and not him or her . . . and so you’ll also be in charge of what kinds of answers to questions you chose to give. If they say they “have” to ask the question—treat them like a cop who asks if you “mind” if he looks inside your car.

  20. Current medical thinking is that it is an increased risk for suicide and a risk for children. Many people cannot switch MDs due to insurance plans. Best choice if you cannot switch MDs is to simply say “Next question please”. Do not argue, make smart*** remarks or debate. Just say next question please. For many MDs they are required to ask, that does not mean that you are required to answer.

    As for the gentleman who wore a firearm into an office where you know that they will be doing a physical exam, sorry your mistake. Should not be that way, but it is. Put it in your bag or leave it in the car. If the neighborhood is that bad wear it into the office, go to the restroom put in in a bag/pack/briefcase or whatever and reverse the process when leaving.

    I am a healthcare worker who is also a strong proponent of 2A but when working it is a major hassle when someone wears one in for their test. I am supposed to notify security who will call the police and have the person arrested.Put it in a locked bag or leave it in your vehicle.

    The funny thing is that in over over 40 years of working in hospitals I have been hit, bit, kicked, knocked over and insulted many times (I’ve worked both psych and ER) but every single person who has ever carried a gun in has been nothing but polite, friendly and compliant.

    • Arrested? Arrested for what? Doctors offices and hospitals are not, absent a specific state law or specific and criminally enforceable posting, no carry zones.

      • Lawfully carrying to a medical exam? Shame on James for blaming the victim in that incident.

        But yes, CC in a hospital is illegal in many states, and I suspect medical office carry may be illegal in others. If police will respond and arrest somebody who carries in James’ workplace, I’d guess his state is one of them. And maybe he’s assuming it’s illegal everywhere.

        I can certainly see where James wouldn’t like to be put in a position of having to either calling the cops on a peaceful and respectful customer, or ignoring a crime and violating orders from his employer.

  21. I would be more likely during a traffic stop to tell a police officer that I occasional had irritable bowel syndrome than I would be to tell any doctor about my firearms ownership. At least the former might be of useful information to the police officer… especially if he felt he had to go “hands-on”. 😉

  22. My physician has a lengthy questionaire that he asks me to fill out prior to my physical every two years. The last questionaire asked if I have firearms. I answered, “NO.” on the questionaire.

    I did that for two reasons:
    (1) I don’t want my physician reporting me to the Gestapo if my physician ever suspected that I was dealing with depression.
    (2) I don’t want my physician reporting me to the Gestapo if my physician is a fervent gun grabber.
    (3) Most importantly, I DON’T WANT ELECTRONIC MEDICAL RECORDS WHICH INDICATE THAT I OWN FIREARMS.

    That last point is paramount to me. I have no idea how well my physician secures the electronic records which he generates. I am not leaving something that important up to chance.

  23. NO! HELL NO! I had an azzwhole doc ask about depression and all kinds of snooping BS. I told him I’m only depressed when I pay the bill😫

  24. Shouldn’t doctors/nurses etc. be required to inform patients as to their, the medical professional’s, “sexuality” and HIV/AIDS/Hep C “status”? I’d like to know whether my healthcare worker engages in risky behavior that could negatively affect me if they accidentally puncture themselves and/or contaminate another piece of equipment while treating me.

  25. Best answer is a calm “not anymore”, or” not in years”. A flat out no may be marked down as a yes ( yes they are counting, yes they will “decode” your response. A “none of your business” will be a definite yes.

    • I figured telling my son’s first pediatrician “That’s none of your f*cking business” was marked a yes. At least she didn’t try to counsel me on it.

  26. Only if they tell me where they live, what valuables they have and the combination to their safe. I think thats only fair.

  27. As it turns out my primary care doc is also a member of GSL in Illinois and he along with his wife are active members and regularly attend meetings of Guns Save Life…..now how cool is that.

  28. Absotiveahfuckinlutely Not.
    Especially regarding VA docs. The Veteran’s Disarmament Act is a thing, and not being able to manage one’s own money is hardly the least of what can trigger a 2A permaban.

  29. My doctor has never asked me. But it seems to me the best way to handle is to say: “No, is that something you recommend I do because of the crime rate going up here?”

    Electronic records you never have access to are not something you want them marking a yes on. That kind of information should remain more private than your doctor or anyone with access to your data is allowed to know.

  30. Well, here in Florida it’s almost a moot point. Damn near everybody owns at least one or two guns & there are about 2 million carry licenses statewide.
    I suppose if a Dr. were to ask me if I owned firearms or had any in my home I would have to answer truthfully and say,”Not one.”

  31. My doctor and I discuss guns nearly ever visit. Usually about our latest purchase or range trip. Sometimes about hunting.

  32. Because I’m a well known curmudgeon, they’ll actually believe that when I say “None of your business.” I mean neither “Yes.” nor “No.”, but “None of your business.”

  33. First, I’ve never been asked. Second, my doctor is a solid Republican, so I don’t see him as a gun banner. Third, I only talk to my doctor when the office will not renew my prescription, which is about once a year or so.

  34. I would recite my numerous certifications as a firearms instructor, and then demand he provide me proof that he is qualified to ask any questions about firearms. And as I walk out of the office, I will make sure everyone in the waiting room knows why I am walking out. Further, I will make sure the insurance company knows that the doctor insulted me, did not finish providing service, and that I believe the insurance claim was partially bogus.

  35. Here’s my caption:

    Doctor: “Do you own any firearms?”
    Patient: “Well, Doc, I don’t see how it’s any of your damn business.”
    Doctor: “Well, your insurance only covered 10% of this expensive and marginally necessary procedure I had you do. Says so right on this statement I’m holding. I’m only asking in order to suggest that if you do happen to have one, suicide is a fast alternative to becoming completely destitute. You have a roughly 54% chance of succeeding on your first try. That’s according to TheTrace.org, an independent research organization dedicated to providing unbiased statistics regarding firearm usage in America.”

  36. Doctors/medical professionals don’t ask but I’m not hiding the gun when I have to disrobe, as I want more doctors used to more people carrying. Never had a problem, some people asked me why, everyone was polite, nobody told me I shouldn’t etc.

    Yes, I do warn them and ask for permission before I let the gun show. I’m not trying to scare or intimidate them, I’m trying to accustom them to polite and sensible armed citizens visiting their practices.

    I’m not sure how applicable my experiences are for most readers, given that I live in Czech Republic. Doctors here don’t have many of the incentives for gun control that those in the US do.

  37. Before you schedule your appt. ask them to email you the questionnaire

    see what`s on it, then call to schedule or call to say you will be looking for another provider

  38. I had a nasty fall last week which required a ride in an ambulance. I told the EMT’s that I had my CWL and have a weapon on my hip. They said, no problem, we do too. At the ER I told everyone that was sewing me up and taking x-rays etc… the same thing, everyone said thanks for telling me.

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