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Dr. Sean Brodale writes:

One billion times a year, you trust us with your general health. You trust us to care for you, your family and friends 168 million times a year in hospitals across this great nation. You even trust us to care for your children in 6.3 million hospital stays per year. Yes, the general public, we as Americans, trust our doctors and other health care workers with our lives, every day. Wouldn’t we then trust those same doctors to defend against deadly violence in a hospital? Yet the vast majority of hospitals across this nation will not trust those same physicians who have a permit to carry a weapon for defense of themselves, patients and staff, to do so in the hospital . . .

Do we find too much cognitive dissonance between a doctor being the one who saves us or keeps us from ill health, and that same person being the one who stops a violent offender in defense of our lives? I don’t think so. Less than a year ago a Gallup poll found nurses, doctors and pharmacists were the professions people felt were highest in honesty and ethics. Sounds like trust to me.

Concealed carry holders have been found to be 5.7-13.5 times less likely to commit a crime than the general public (these are people we can trust).  Is it so hard for Americans to put these two groups of people together? Do they believe that the Hippocratic Oath stating “First do no harm” means that no “harm” is ever done in the process of medicine?

Let’s take a simple and life-saving appendix surgery. The surgeon has to cut open the body, take the appendix out, and then repair the holes. Is there damage done? Of course there is, but the overall benefit outweighs the damage that was done to the body and in the end the patient improves.

Is this not the same as when a violent murderer enters a hospital or other healthcare facility and begins harming innocent people? He is the diseased appendix, he cannot be reasoned with, he cannot be stopped by saying please—he must be met with equal or greater force or he will continue to harm others.

Dr. Lee Silverman in July 2014 near Philadelphia must have known this when a mentally ill patient walked past the “gun-free zone” signs and shot and killed his caseworker and wounded Dr. Silverman. Dr. Silverman had his weapon on hand despite the rules against it. He must have known (as many of us do) that violent criminals do not obey the signs and when they decide to bring a weapon into a “gun-free zone” they believe they will be the only one with a gun and will be able to do whatever damage they wish.

He must have realized at that critical second, despite being a psychiatrist and probably skilled at reasoning and talking with mentally ill patients, that only deadly force would stop the deadly force in front of him. I’m sure his family, and coworkers in the building at the time, are thankful that he did. Just as the surgeon who removes an appendix, he stopped further damage from happening by focusing damage where damage had to be done.

Do we continue to trust our doctors when the therapy they prescribe risks some adverse effects (damage), when the overall course of treatment is positive in the end, especially when the disease is life threatening? In the same light, do we trust our doctors, ARNP’s, nurses, EMT’s and other healthcare professionals with a tool that could cause harm, but only in the most dire of situations and only when that harm is necessary to stop the greater harm to innocent people?

I think most Americans do, because most of us believe concealed carry makes us safer. So why are most doctors not allowed to carry in the hospital where they work?

Hospital administrators are just out of touch with reality when it comes to “gun free zones.” They are not thinking about who might carry a gun into their hospital, they are afraid of all guns. So I guess I have to say it: “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”.

Americans trust their doctors, and I believe Americans trust their doctors with guns. I have found that my patients do, and they have stood up and said so in public meetings.  I would stand up for my patients as well, even in the face of an armed assailant. I only hope it doesn’t happen in my hospital because it is a ”gun-free zone”. As a popular saying around my hospital lately goes, “Hope is not a strategy”.

— Dr. Sean Brodale is a family practitioner in Iowa. He is pursuing the right to carry in hospitals for eligible medical personnel. At DRGO he is involved in membership and public engagement projects

Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, a project of the Second Amendment Foundation.

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  1. How many get killed because of a doctor’s mistake?

    Do they really think they are better than the rest?

    • I don’t think its a question of better in any way, you seem to be missing his point. Our entire society is based on trust to some degree or another. My favorite example for anti gunners is that they are perfectly willing to trust the “redneck with a gun”when he hurtles by him and his family in a ton of steel and plastic on the highway kept “safe” only by a line of paint on the asphalt. Why trust everyone in society with one deadly machine and not with another?

    • I don’t think its a question of better in any way, you seem to be missing his point. Our entire society is based on trust to some degree or another. My favorite example for anti gunners is that they are perfectly willing to trust the “redneck with a gun” when he hurtles by them and their family in a ton of steel and plastic on the highway kept “safe” only by a line of paint on the asphalt. Why trust everyone in society with one deadly machine and not with another? Trust is entirely the issue.

    • It seems the first commenter does not realize we (DRGO) are a staunchly pro RKBA group. Else, why the harsh tone?

    • Many Americans die every year due to what is euphemistically referred to as “medical misadventure.” My mother was misdiagnosed and came within hours of death before a cardiac surgeon recognized that she desperately needed a pacemaker implant, so I understand the concern, however…

      Some deaths are caused by incompetent doctors, it happens. Some deaths are caused by doctors overworked and over stressed, it happens. Some deaths occur because doctors are not the gods people expect them to be and sometimes there is just nothing that can be done.

      I suspect all three of these things would also apply to doctors carrying in a hospital. Some would screw up because they are incompetent, some from stress, and some just because their best just wasn’t good enough, but like medicine, the successes would most certainly outweigh the failures.

    • If you don’t want to killed by a doctor, your best option would be to stay at home. Google your symptoms, and take a pick from the list.

    • Guns and hospitals don’t mix. The writer didn’t touch on the real issue. They have pure oxygen. It’s a real party starter when sparked off with a combustible near.

  2. Sure carry a gun doc-but I’m not in the trust a doctor crew. No infringement of the 2nd…

  3. I say let them carry with training specific to their environment. Make that a STATE law that trumps and overrides all hospital directives, local laws, and city ordinances.

    The question is do you get more heavy metal in a 9mm or as an adjuvant in a vaccine?

  4. More freedom is rarely a bad thing. If only cops go can carry in a hospital changes to only cops and licensed hospital staff, and blood doesn’t flow down the halls, might that lead to MORE people being allowed to carry? Its a better chance than going from only cops straight to anyone not prohibited.

  5. In Oregon, the law describes a hospital as a “Public Place.” The law also says that a CHL holder may conceal-carry in a “Public Place,” despite the “No Guns” sign such a place may have posted. (This goes for schools in Oregon, as well.) This is a good thing for the CHL-holding citizen. It’s probably not so good for a doctor employed at such a facility who probably signed some document that he won’t carry at work.

    Of course, being employed in a “Public Place”… (Ever watched a dog chase its own tail?)

  6. Makes sense to me. The same holds true for teachers, firemen, cooks, baristas, and a thousand other professions. We trust them in other ways. It only makes to trust them with the right to bear arms. Our entire society is built on trust.

    The sad fact about the anti gun crowd is that they trust no one but the government. That is profoundly sad and foolish. The government is just “us”, and it is sometimes comprised of the worst among us.

    • They trust groups, not individuals. They trust the government but not the individual agents of the government. They trust the military but not the individual soldiers. They trust the police but not the individual officers.

      It demonstrates the mental disconnect the anti-rights crowd lives with. Only the cops should have guns, but they should only have guns while in uniform.

  7. While this is a good topic it needs to be extended. Why not “Citizens for responsible gun ownership” Trust us to carry guns everywhere. We all need to carry so just get rid of the silly gun free zones and we will all be a lot safer ” everywhere”

    • Because we are an organization of doctors and other healthcare professionals who oppose intitutional medicine’s anti-gun activism. Our founder and director was one of thee physicians who have testimony to Congress in 1996 in which he demonstrated the outright anti gun agenda and bias at the CDC.
      That testimony, in part, help define the CDC’s anti gun “research”.

        • So, what you really want is legislation that specifically put liability on a corporation for any injuries sustained on its premises where the lawful carrying of an arm could have impacted the outcome. (I.E. gas leak explosion not applicable, a wacko cuts the secretary’s head off – very much applicable)

          You must demanding that companies that create unnatural human-hunting preserves (“gun-free zones”) are accountable to keep everyone unharmed, or pay so much as to put them out of business when they fail. And fail they will.

          These administration people about which you complain –whatever is going into the decision to ban guns on the premises has to be completely, unequivocally eclipsed by the threat of 1 single incident on their gun-free-zone putting the entire hospital out of business. No limit on damages. And a minimum of 100 million in punitive damages per person that the policy has harmed.

          Violating private property rights of companies by forcing them to allow doctors to be “more equal” than others is not the right road, and will do more harm than good in the long run. Forcing them to be accountable for their idiocy is a more attractive option.

          And yes, I sympathize with some of you that you can’t carry at work because of the changing room for scrubs and other stuff is logistically difficult for some of you. It sucks that you can’t carry anyway and live in real-ville because someone will rat you out.

          But, if we tried to help you get your “more equal” exemption, you will ABSOLUTELY STAB US IN THE BACK when we petition for general restrictions on hospital carry to be lifted. All these excuses will come out about how it’s too dangerous, you doctors are enough to keep the place safe, yadda yadda bullshit.

          I have never once seen a doctor advocate for the freedom to buy medicines on the free market. Doctors wrote the entire “I know better than you” book that the government has recently been reading and trying to implement. Maybe you do know more about my health than I do, but it is absolutely my God-given right to poison myself with any and everything I choose to buy. Doctors and their lobbying groups have NEVER, EVER, supported my freedom in this way, and given the chance move to restrict liberties EVERY TIME.

          I have no reason whatsoever to trust you in any capacity. You are actually one of the most untrustworthy groups that exists in this country. Not because you are less honest than a car salesman or a plumber or anyone else, but because you claim to be God Almighty’s divine word of truth. I know the car salesman is trying to sell me something, but the doctors that are fee-for-service don’t tell you that, do they? No, they recommend surgeries, and get paid to do them. Then when they go on flat salary the # of procedures at a hospital drops. Magic!

          Give me a break. You’re just people too – ones who had to stay in school for longer than most, ones with more bills to pay than most…Trust you more than me? Why should I?

          Come out for general hospital right to carry, and I’ll stand with you. Beg for personal exceptions, and you can go to hell.

  8. Whatever you do, Doc; remember: use hearing protection, not a stethoscope by the muzzle, when firing a gun……

      • Sweet!!

        That is one area where even the notoriously gun unfriendly EU seems to be less repressive than our governments.

  9. I feel like this would be positive message in places with lots of anti gunners that are afraid of guns but trust doctors. This could help normalize CCW a bit more there.

  10. “One billion times a year, you trust us with your general health……Wouldn’t we then trust those same doctors to defend against deadly violence in a hospital?”

    What an asinine argument. That someone possesses expertise in one field, itself in no way qualifies him even to speak intelligently on another subject, let alone to act deftly in that field. We see this nonsense with Nobel Prize winners in Literature, Peace, or even in Physiology (Medicine). They fallaciously leverage their mighty, and mighty narrow, mastery of a specific topic into haranguing us about income inequality, “global warming” and fanciful rights to this or that social program. Good grief.

    Appeals to unimpeachable authority are as old as the hills. We’ve seen this before: Plato’s philosopher-kings, Egypt’s pharaoh god-kings, Bodin’s divine right of kings…….Hobbes’ leviathan and Marx’s dictatorship of the proletariat. Same song, different verse.

    Now, the good doctor may well have a valid point to make about the right of individuals to be armed for self-defense. In fact, there are many strong arguments to make toward that end, as I and many others make in here and elsewhere frequently and forcefully, and novel takes or new thinking are always welcome. However, that healthcare workers are trusted in one important sense and so should be trusted in another, is just silly. It’s specious and grasping. You’re better than that. Try again.

      • Yes….I think it would have been better if he simply said “I’m an MD, and the income associated with my license is highest average of all licensed professionals, i enjoy social priveledge and respect, and, by the way, I believe all those who are not violent criminals should be allowed to carry a gun if they so chose”. Or, maybe he is right, only “trusted” police and MD’s should enjoy such priveledge?

    • Out of those “billion times” you, good doctors, get it so effen wrong that the patient dies 220K (most generous) to 400+K (more realistic) times.

      Every. Single. Year.

      Not to mention that in only a fraction of those ‘billion times’ is someone there for more than a routine physical, or a teeth cleaning. Pull the check-ups, cuts and abrasions, and minor fractures out of the mix, and the record on life-or-death doesn’t look nearly as impressive as they’d like us to believe.

      I know it’s a challenging gig, and many of them in it are fairly smart (though, like every other gig, it’s a bell-curve, and most are just very good students, not that bright per se. Not as bad as lawyers, but that’s a different kettle, they can just screw up your life, not really end it).

  11. Doctors kill more Americans every year that all the murderers, terrorists and assorted psychos combined. So no, I don’t trust them, but I still want them — and everybody else — to be able to carry when and where they choose.

    • You can’t fix stupid. The next time you think you need a doctor (that is trying to kill you), just stay home and fix it yourself.

    • Many doctors are far too arrogant to recognize that nurses and nurse practitioners have the right to exist.

    • Visit our website. ALL healthcare professionals are welcome.
      We were started by a group of physicians.
      The circle has expanded, the mission remains the same.

    • As a RN, wouldn’t it make more sense to arm the majority of the workforce in the hospital. Yes all support personnel, janitors, cafeteria ect…the real workers, not just just the residents asleep in “the call(SAFE) room…

  12. Is it nihilistic misanthrope might at TTAG?

    DRGO is a pro 2A group.
    Look at the website. No Fudds there..

    • It is great that he is pro 2A and I hope the group has great success.. The negative response is not do to a perception of FUDDs, it is the perception of elitism. I am all for doctors carrying but their profession does not elevate them as a group that are any more trustworthy or more capable by default at other skills.

      For the average person or a fence sitter the perception of elitism might not even be a bad thing for this particular group. They don’t need to convince many true 2A supporters. Doctors being more equal is still a specious stance and I don’t find it surprising at all that the wording about trust and using it as an argument was not greatly appreciated here.

      • “the perception of elitism might not even be a bad thing for this particular group”

        That is what they are trying to capitalize on – at least in the eyes of the fence sitters.

        • I do like that angle. There are still millions of idiots who blindly follow whatever their physician tells them, and still believes that they are all incredibly smart and ‘all that schoolin’ musta taught ’em better that us…’ propaganda. .

          I’m all for channeling morons in the right direction, if we don’t, they will.

  13. As a physician in the military, I find it ironic that the United States government has trained me to use a handgun to defend my patients in the desert, but not only can I not carry a gun in the military hospital in the states, I can’t even have one on base!

    • Perhaps you might find kindred spirits with Dr. Edeen (our Director of Membership and former Navy, now pediatric orthopedic surgeon). He and Dr. Brodale advocate for the right to carry in hospitals for ALL eligible medical personnel.

  14. DRGO better beat back that bs swirling around about Dr.’s deciding who gets guns on the basis of “mental health issues”.
    I don’t trust doctors with deciding who has mental issues, much less the toe-under-the-turtle, issue of deciding who can own guns for a particular reason.
    DRGO should be fighting o-hole-orama-care. Nothing sh_ts on the value of a “doctor’s” discretion in providing healthcare like that. The ACA turns all hospitals into the Post Office.

    • P.S. – “people” quote ‘Gallup’ for two reasons:
      1) they are fing stupid
      2) they think we are

      DRGO might as well have cited “J.D. Powers.”

    • Visit our site.
      Read our mission.
      Look at our position statements, our resources as well as archive of articles spanning over two and a half decades.

  15. Hospital administrators are just out of touch with reality when it comes to “gun free zones.” They are not thinking about who might carry a gun into their hospital, they are afraid of all guns.
    As long as they are not sued for keeping their areas gun free, this will continue. Same for other business owners.

  16. Okay, so here go. Doctor’s should be lobbying hospital boards and the C-suite for full time armed security on hospital campuses. Arming doctors is not the first step in a comprehensive facility security strategy. Hospital security has been historically lax due to the nature of medicine helping everyone who walks through the doors, and being an open facility. Second, most hospital security incidents don’t need the use of a firearm. Doctors would be better off learning verbal de-escalation and physical restraint techniques. They’d also be better off calling security when they think there might be an issue instead of waiting to they have an active incident. Many hospitals and attached practices don’t even have panic alarms.

    So while this one doctor wants to be armed, that’s great, he’s in an ultra minority among his peers. He also knows that doctors call all the shots in a hospital and can pretty much violate every rule they want to violate, so CCW and don’t tell anyone. If you’re part of the shrinking pool of white native English speaking doctors, then you know you really can do anything and the hospital will do everything it can to keep you.

  17. I talk firearms with a lot of doctors, some of whom are fairly accomplished at the shooting sports. This is a welcome statement from the DRGO. Using doctors as an example is a good foot in the door for ensuring everyone else’s rights, as it is a simple logical point that competence with a firearm isn’t dependent on one’s vocation.

  18. I’m all for everyone carrying in hospitals, with the possible exceptions of patients under general anesthesia and others who may not have a firm grasp on reality.

    The author here abuses the word “trust.” We trust doctors and nurses the same way we trust auto mechanics and roofers. We don’t go to them because we trust them. We go to them because we need the services they are trained to provide, and hope they are trustworthy.

    Gallup polls notwithstanding, Dr. Brodale could use a dose of professional humility.

  19. Dr. Sean Brodale is a family practitioner in Iowa. He is pursuing the right to carry in hospitals for eligible medical personnel. At DRGO he is involved in membership and public engagement projects

    That Right already exists. Just do it. Concealed means concealed, as they say.

    Some of our local hospitals are in rather unsavory neighborhoods. There is no law against carrying in a hospital here. Of course, there are “no guns” signs at the entrance, which carry ZERO legal weight. Your mileage may vary, of course, depending on your state of residence.

  20. I’ve never be able to understand why people were not armed to the hilt in Emergency Rooms. The unknown environment where behavior can easily become out of control even for a normally very controlled calm person is far greater. Add in drug intoxication, criminal agendas, and you damn near have all the potentials of a war zone.

  21. Where the medical profession divorces itself from its total subservience to pharmaceutical interests, it will gain a bit more credibility. Medical deaths combined with pharmaceutical deaths(reported deaths, actual numbers likely much greater) is one of the leading causes of death in the USA.

  22. I’m going to be under and defenseless for back surgery later this month. Unable to protect myself. For 3-4 hours.
    I would have NO problem whatsoever if the surgeon was armed and able to protect me, his staff and himself if something should happen.

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