Concealed Carry Pro Tip: Don’t Pack a Gun Around an MRI Machine

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MRI magnetic field warning sign

As the New York Post reports . . . “A Brazilian lawyer tragically died after his gun was discharged by an MRI machine’s magnetic field at the hospital.”

The freak accident occurred on January 16 while the gun-loving lawyer, named Leandro Mathias de Novaes, was taking his mother to get scanned at the Laboratorio Cura in São Paulo, Jam Press reported. Unbeknownst to hospital staff, the attorney had a registered firearm in his possession.

If you’ve ever had an MRI or been near and MRI machine, you’ve seen the signs warning everyone in the area that the device creates a powerful magnetic field and cautioning that all metal objects you may be carrying should be removed. Mr. Mathias de Novaes, who was legally carrying a firearm at the time, apparently ignored those warnings.

Staff had reportedly asked the pair to remove all metal objects before entering the MRI room, as is protocol at hospitals due to the device’s powerful magnetic field. However, Novaes decided to go in sans announcing his concealed weapon.

He chose…poorly.

Disaster struck after the machine yanked the weapon from his waistband, causing it to go off and strike the lawyer in the stomach. He was subsequently rushed to the São Luiz Morumbi Hospital, where he hung on for weeks, before eventually succumbing to his injuries on February 6.

Maybe he was carrying a plastic fantastic and figured it didn’t have enough metal in it to cause a problem. Maybe he just underestimated the strength of the magnetic field the machine creates. Either way, he found out the hard way why the immediate vicinity of an MRI is a designated gun-free zone for a very good reason.



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  1. In the USA you cannot go into a medical facility with a firearm and you cannot go into an MRI room unless you are a doctor, nurse, tech or patient. Not sure what they do in Brazil but Brazil in not the USA.

    • That’s funny dprato – I’m sure I’ve seen cops in hospitals, in uniform and fully armed. I can’t possibly be sure how many people I’ve seen in hospitals carrying concealed. The only places it might matter are – have you guessed? MRI, maybe X-ray, and places where high intensity electro-magnetic waves are used. You don’t want to risk the possibility that your weapon will glow in the dark after a cancer treatment, to you?

      I mean, a heart monitor isn’t going to set a round of, or the elevator, or . . . well, you get the idea. MRI is just plain stupid. You get many warnings before you ever get close to the machine.

    • may not, not cannot. There’s no Star Trek gun disintegrating field around those places. (Or Times Square, as in a couple of articles back.)

    • Who can’t go into a medical facility armed? I did it with impunity when I was working. I legally could. I’ve done it with impunity since. Lots of times. I no longer legally can. The hell with them if they can’t take a joke.

      • Think Dave Crockett’s Doctor discriminated against firearms? – BRUEN

        I saw this story several days ago.
        1.) Brazil is still a 3rd world country (at max 2nd world) – irrelevant to the US
        2.) “Story” smells of BS

    • dprato

      In the US you can go into medical facilities armed and I do so on a regular basis. A very significant amount of doctors work in privately owned facilities that are not hospitals and there are no restrictions in Texas against going armed into them.

      • What may be true for Texas is not necessarily universal. No carry in California hospitals, though some staff have been known to ignore the ban.

        • Most of California is about to become a “carry restricted zone”, except for the very important people of course. they can do whatever they want…as usual.

        • And that’s one of the reasons why 500,000 folks left CA last year. Stand by neighboring states. You are about to get kallyfornikated.

    • Officers go in to medical facilities armed but not in MRI rooms. You either dress down one officer if there are two or stay in the monitor room.
      Common sense and professionalism go a long ways

    • No law against it in PA. It is against policy at most facilities I have worked in and for most companies I have worked for.

    • I’ve carried multiple times in the hospital just not pre surgery. Anyhow MRI machines are huge magnetic coils and you’d have to be an idiot to ignore the warnings.

    • yawn, not true at most medical facilities unless properly posted , and even then in some states the ccp overrides that.
      it’s never stopped me in pa

    • This is not entirely true. I recently entered a medical facility with a concealed weapon. This facility is affiliated with a large medical organization.

      The security guard on-duty never inquired and we were not directed to pass through a metal detector.

      I looked around for any signage prohibiting weapons and found none.

      I suppose weapons policies in medical facilities are left to the owners and operators of those facilities.

    • Here, it depends on the hospital, and even the entrance. The ERs tend to have armed guards and metal detectors because they get a lot of junkies ODing, but the front door of the same hospital maybe has a receptionist. Some ERs I’ve seen are worse than TSA. I’ve seen them taking away safety razors that visitors brought in the overnight bag for the patient.

  2. Hmm, a legitimate “gun free” zone.

    And with good reason.

    I think golf courses should be gun free also.
    Seen some crazy ass stuff on the course by men (never seen a female be any more crazy on the course than they already normally are).
    Most golf craziness I’ve witnessed involved alcohol. (And that’s why I don’t consider golf a sport. If you can drink alc while participating, then the sports validity thing goes out the window.

    • Well than you would we to discount a lot of sports. There are a ton of pro athletes that have admitted to playing drunk. I’m not a golfer but I do respect what the pros can do with a club.

      • The good fellows I use to play golf with waited until after the round and did any drinking at the club house. Physical health has taken a tole preventing me from playing these days.

      • Henry Bowman. Now that was one hell of a book. I have a first edition. Wish it had Mr. Ross’s autograph.

  3. Anyone with any knowledge of firearms at all is labeled a gun lover or a gun nut in newspaper article and literature. This phenomenon began to occur as early as 1900. The idea that the population, or portions of the population were enemies of the state and needed to be tightly regulated and controlled existed even in the revolution era. This idea is a marker of the loathsome individual.

    • Probably striker fired. I could see the magnet drawing the firing pin into the striker. Maybe. Overcoming DA trigger pulls and defeating SA safeties. Not so much. I’m betting operator error. Usually is.

    • It was an Uberti clone of a Colt SAA in .45LC. The “lawyer” was likely Alec Baldwin in his latest role, and he didn’t know it was loaded.

  4. He probably should have been carrying one of those expensive porcelain guns.

    Carrying firearms comes with certain responsibilities. Understanding the environment your in is one of them.

  5. the guy was stupid, yes…

    but another useless ‘no guns’ zone that didn’t magically protect.

    ya would think the way ‘no gun’ zones are so loved by anti-gun at least one of them would have exhibited this magic of delusional imagination at least once when it was really needed to give the protection anti-gun claims they provide.

    • Hmmm…just saw a video on this with the dummies gat stuck to the side of the MRI machine. I HAVE had an MRI years ago. Not scary unless you’re claustrophobic. I am not. Darwin strikes again🙁🙄

  6. This is now a problem for the hospital, as the gun is now stuck to the magnet.

    No, you can’t pry it off. A superconductor magnet is frightfully powerful, and to get it off they will probably ‘quench’ the magnet, a physically-violent process all on it’s own…

      • Mashing that ‘Stop’ button starts a process that cannot be be undone without great financial expense, ‘nice try’…

        • ‘It isn’t a magnet when it isn’t running.’

          That’s why you push the off button. You shouldn’t be allowed to own guns or anything else that can injure yourselves or others.

        • Enough already! Educate yourselves! It is an electro magnet. It won’t grab crap until energized. Please tell me my POTG aren’t this stupid! Crap!

        • “All Modern MRI’s operate using superconducting magnets. Because they operate at a very cool temperature, below -453 Farenheit, there is no energy loss allowing the energy to only be put in during installation.

          There are two ways to do it as mentioned by other users. The first is an emergency quench which turns on a small heater and causes all of the helium to boil off. The energy will leave the coil in the form of resistive heat since it is no longer in a supercooled state.

          The second is a ramp down down by a service engineer, where a specialized tool is installed in line with the magnet and the energy is removed from the magnet over a few hours. This keeps the very expensive liquid helium in the magnet, and allows replacement of parts and the use of metal tools that are not magnet safe.”

        • you do understand that they power the magnet down for maintenance purposes ?

          let’s not forget that it was fully tested and the manufacturer, packaged, shipped and installed and then retested, calibrated it with several power cycles.

          yes, they can be powered down for low energy consumption when not in use or turned off .

      • The button starts a small low level heater running between the ramp probe connections in the cryostat. This causes the main field coil to go restive (lose superconductivity). This results in the magnetic field to start to collapse. This is a runaway condition known a a “quench”. The liquid helium in the cryostat starts to boil off rapidly (it is normally kept liquid by keeping the cryostat at or below 4 degrees kelvin). A 1.5 tesla magnet contains about 1200 liters of liquid helium. This expands to about 600 times this volume when it goes gaseous. There is a ceramic disk in the vent stack on the cryostat that bursts and releases the gas to the outside of the building.
        When I worked on these things liquid helium cost between 7 and 10 dollars per liter. Then you have the costs of refilling, ramping the magnet back up, and re-calibrating the system. That’s why it’s called an EMERGENCY MRU (or magnet rundown unit). I have removed many objects from these beasts including wheelchairs, small oxygen bottles, tools, AND once a 38 special brought in by a local Judge who either couldn’t read or had s%$t for his brains. (I suspect the later)

    • Once the MRI is ramped up, it remains a magnet until it either is ramped down normally, the system quenches or the cold head malfunctions causing a unplanned quench. A MRI can quench before it is powered up and sometimes during shipping it can happen.

      Depending on the field strength of the system, an object like a firearm can be removed without ramping the system down. Most are 1.5 Tesla or 3T in standard imaging centers. There are some that are .25 T and those are permanent magnets without a cryogen system. Research facilities use 7T and above which require very stringent safety protocols.

      There was a situation where a woman with her purse saw the tools on the table by the MRI. She did not realize they were titanium tools. She entered the suite and her purse was pulled on the outside cover.

      I asked if she had a firearm and after some hesitation she said it as a Ruger LCP.

      I reached into her purse, pulled the weapon out of battery and slid everything down the covers to the floor and was able to manipulate it out of the .05 gauss.

      I spend a lot of time working near MRI machines with ferrous tools. You learn a few things like having a safety system built to protect you and the equipment. I have seen skillsaws, hammers, screwdrivers and a metal bucket of epoxy lost inside of a MRI. They are no joke to work around.

      This incident was not the first where a firearm discharged. A M1911 dscharged several years back without injury to anyone and missed the cryogen vessel. The round went into the floor.
      MRI safety sites have many horror stories. But look up MRI frog.

      The room that an MRI sits in is a faraday cage.

  7. The most important fact omitted by the news article is whether or not the medical facility itself was a “gun free zone” by POLICY.

    It’s not a stretch to imagine this guy was one of those “concealed means concealed” folks who ignore POLICY (not LAW).

    99% of the time, that’s not an issue, you don’t get “caught” and asked to leave (the normal consequence of violating POLICY). Once he’s in the room, even if he did realize the potential problem, he may have chosen to keep it concealed, as he would likely have had to admit he had violated POLICY if he suddenly had to leave to return it to his car, etc.

    IF that is the scenario, then I would chalk this up as one more case where a “gun free zone” POLICY got someone killed.

  8. A long time ago I read a story about a Mexican dump, by that I mean somewhere in Mexico. Some hospital up here had a old radiation machine for cancer that they managed to get across the border and someone at the Mexican dump found it.

    They also found a container with some radioactive material in in said machine that glowed in the dark. A bunch of people rubbed the stuff on themselves and were running around glowing in the dark. They were having a hoot and all ended up dying.

    They have Darwin Awards for a reason.

    Thats the way I remember it but this could be the Wiki on it.

    • Yikes.

      Cobalt-60 is a Gamma emitter.

      That’s an ugly way to die… 🙁

        • Caesium-137, another nasty Gamma emitter.

          And the little girl thought the glowing powder was fairy dust and spread it all over her face… 🙁

        • Thats pretty much the way I remember reading it in 1987 or 1988 before the internet:

          A bunch of people were running around glowing the dark and I do believe they glowed blue. From memory it was ” A bunch of people rubbed the stuff on themselves and were running around glowing in the dark. They were having a hoot and all ended up dying.”

          Maybe it stuck with me because in 1986 when my friends and I would hang out, someone brought over those glow sticks that they had at raves.
          We decided that if you drank one your piss could glow. The six of us drew cards, lowest card had to drink a freshly activated glow stick.

          Big hint: It wasn’t me and the person who drank it, their piss did not glow. We weren’t the brightest kids but by the early ’90s I saw a recipe for St Patrick’s day that involved taking a bunch of Doans Pills and vitamin B complex that would make you piss green.

          On St Patrick’s everyone said they were Irish and we would add O to the front of our names like O’Rob. At a local bar I said so you think you are Irish?

          Follow me and we hit the can where I pissed a very bright green piss. It was amazing.

          The fun and stupidity of youth.

    • People used to wear this crap a jewelry until they found out better. Marie Curie died for her efforts in science.

      “Both Curies were constantly ill from radiation sickness, and Marie Curie’s death from aplastic anemia in 1934, at age 66, was likely caused by radiation exposure. A few of her books and papers are still so radioactive that they are stored in lead boxes.”

      • Radium, another nasty.

        For a number of years it was sold as glow paint for watches and clocks. Google ‘Radium Girls’.

        Until the girls that applied the paint started dying…

        • Cancer of the tongue from putting the brushes in their mouths Ottawa, IL.
          Chicagoland has a bunch of radioactive places.

          Google “Red Gate Woods”.

          If you pull up the wiki page on it, that’s nonsense.
          In the late 80’s some guy tripped over something in that grove sticking up out the ground while playing Frisbee. He yanked on it and it appeared to be a rod of some sort. It turned out that they had just buried the first reactors of the Manhattan project there and it was a fuel rod from the 1940s that he tripped over. They went into damage control and dug it all up, made a deeper hole and s poured a bunch of concrete over the reactors. Then they back-filled it with dirt and planted prairie grass.

          There is lake back there that is so contaminated with radioactive sludge that there is no fishing or swimming, don’t even touch the water. There was also A LOT of tritium in residential wells within miles that they had to run Lake Michigan water to those houses.

          There is a well by the sign that you will see if you Google Red Gate Woods.
          It has it’s own sign that the water is safe to drink from the well.
          Would you drink it? I won’t.

      • But they referred to the people there as hospital staff. As much as MRI machines cost, you’d think they would only be in hospitals.

        • I’ve had multiple MRI’s Gipper. The one near me is miles from our hospital. The women that work there are awesome! Not affiliated with our also awesome hospital but so very sweet and professional. I love them!

  9. From the source article:

    “The gun was reportedly yanked from the lawyer’s waistband and discharged.”

    Reportedly? (definition: “supposedly”)

    Would someone explain how this could have happened, if it actually even did happen?

    • The magnetic field of an MRI machine is *brutally* powerful.

      If the gun were striker-fired, it’s half-cocked anyways. It’s conceivable in the close proximity of the MRI magnet the pull of the field could have caused it to discharge… 🙁

      • As an electrician in the early 80s, I used to hook up mobile MRI trailers outside of hospitals. They usually had at least a 100 foot no man’s land around them and every piece of equipment that was associated with them was specialized and expensive.
        I still have some of the 12 -grand worth of Beryllium Copper (non magnetic) tools the shop was required to supply. IIRC, specialized driver bits were over $100 each and a wrench set was over a thou.

  10. I work in an ICU…. the magnet is always on… the stop button does not turn it off. The stop button stops the table from moving. It is used in case a body part gets stuck between the scanner and the table. Quenching shuts down the magnet in about 20 seconds. It releases 1500 liters or more of helium that is in the scanner killing the magnet. The helium is – 100+ degrees Celsius. There is a great danger of frostbit or asphyxiation. There are O2 sensors in the scanner and control room to detect a low O2 percentage. It costs between 50k to 100k to fix the scanner after quenching.

    • “The helium is – 100+ degrees Celsius.”

      More like −269 C, or -450 F. No worries, I fully believe you work in healthcare.

      The asphyxiation hazard is nothing to trifle with, there’s a much worst one, liquid nitrogen. Nitrogen is worse because it sticks around floor level, so it’s bad in confined spaces, while helium goes straight up to the ceiling as fast as it can. Little kids have died from helium by climbing into an inflatable structure. They think it’s hilarious how their voice gets squeaky, and pass out in very short period of time and die 8 minuets later when the brain dies of O2 starvation.

      “It costs between 50k to 100k to fix the scanner after quenching.”

      That’s why I wrote “…that cannot be be undone without great financial expense,…”… 🙂

  11. @Rob S”…I pissed a very bright green piss.
    It was amazing. The fun and stupidity of youth.”

    See? Sometimes you learn and live to tell about it.

    Good show.

  12. It seems like a metal detector of some sort could be a good idea, just to double triple check or prevent accidents. When I had an MRI that had you remove all clothes, jewelry, phones, etc in a changing room and wear a hospital gown, no guest or visitors and it would be hard to carry your gun in a hospital gown.

    But someone could have a tongue ring or something. It’s also a potential issue if you have been doing metal work and could have gotten metal shavings somewhere like eyes or something… ouch.

  13. He was warned. He didn’t heed. Guns don’t just “go off.” Still a negligent discharge.

  14. I’m curious how the gun fired while being pointed at him. did the force of the magnet pull the striker back and then the firing pin spring had enough strength to overcome that force and fire a cartridge?

  15. I call BS having already read other accounts of the story that included this “When the machine was turned on, the magnetic force pulled de Novaes’ gun from his waistband and it discharged, the bullet striking him in the abdomen.”

    MRI machines are not turned on like a light switch or a power tool as has been reported.

  16. I cant talk about the MRI machines in detail except for what they tried to bill my insurance.
    $4000 because I really messed up my shoulder and my orthopedist wanted a good look.
    BC/BS said no we’ll pay $700. He got his good look and I got surgery.
    The talk of a gun in a hospital is a big no-no in Illinois.
    (430 ILCS 66/65)
    Sec. 65. Prohibited areas.
    (7) Any building, real property, and parking area
    under the control of a public or private hospital or hospital affiliate, mental health facility, or nursing home.
    Thats been the law since we were able to carry legally and they do make a BIG deal about it.
    Like the whole PD shows up and you are in big trouble. Kiss your CCW goodbye.
    I literally hate hospitals, I even hate the smell of them.

  17. Magnetic field fired that gun, eh? Horse hockey. He took liberties with that attractive technician, and her boyfriend, being a hot blooded Latin type, introduced him to Mr. Acute Plumbism. Mark my words, the facts will come out, and they will be some version of that.

  18. I am willing to bet the MRI machine had zero to do with setting his gun off in his pants. More than likely the dumb ass probably did not have it in a hardshell holster and the gun having no manual safety simply went off when his shirt got caught up in the trigger guard and set the gun off, it happens all the time with pre-loaded striker fired weapons.

    The average gun owner is not very mechanically inclined and few ever understand how a pre-loaded striker fired gun even works. They see the fake trigger safety and actually believe it will prevent the gun from going off accidentally. Its called Darwinism.

    • Maybe you were there and had a hand down his pants?
      It happens all the time, its called Darwinism.
      When in Brazil, well you know. Especially you.

  19. “A Brazilian lawyer tragically died…”


    Characterizing a dead lawyer as “tragic”? In what real universe?

    So- what’s the difference between a dead lawyer and dead snake lying on a highway??

    The panic skid marks before the snake.

  20. The purpose of high-magnetic-capacity fully automatic MRI machines is to capture and hold liquid-metal Terminators, giving you time to get away.

  21. I’d call this more of a Fluke than anything else. As no mention is made of what gun he was carrying, we can only speculate as to the sequence of mechanical coincidental failures caused by the magnetic field that had to occur in order for the gun to fire without a finger on the trigger.
    Bottom line if you insist upon carrying in an MRI, have the foresight to clear the chamber for the procedure.

    On a side note, having worked in both the Medical Field and the Industrial Gas Industry, Helium is a very expensive gas because it is a finite resource. It can’t be separated from the atmosphere by current ASU methods, and once the known deposits are exhausted, there’s no more (usually Helium is typically found above Natural Gas Deposits) until another deposit is found. The current Helium shortage isn’t new. it’s been ongoing since at least 2008, when the supplier I worked for got the first shortage alert. Biden’s refusal to allow drilling and exploration is compounding the shortage.
    As an RN, I was called upon to escort prison inmates to their MRI’s. It’s pretty impressive to see what an MRI does to Prison Tats. Iron Oxide is often the most commonly used pigment and watching the pigment forcefully drawn from the skin is pretty impressive and extremely painful. The whole reason I was there was some docs had standing orders to administer sedatives via IV, to keep the prisoner from trying to claw their way out of the machine once the process started (a few docs didn’t give a crap).

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