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By Dr. Latebloomer

Some gun colleagues and I were having a conversation recently and someone mentioned a “SHTF Office Gun.”  I remember laughing to myself, saying something like, ‘Sheesh, can you imagine having a pediatric office SHTF gun?’ That would go over like a lead balloon (no pun intended).

But when you really think about it, we are a soft target, located close to a school. This startling reality was pointed out to me by a different friend when we were talking about Stop the Bleed recently.

I have a lot of friends who get paid to think about and plan for ‘SHTF’ scenarios. Nobody gives them a hard time about that because they are LE and EMS types. Their job is to think the un-thinkable.

But upon serious reflection, I get paid to think about bad things happening, too. It’s my job to think about awful things that happen to kids, and how best to make sure those things don’t happen, or to catch them quickly if they do. Vaccination, regular growth and development screening, monitoring and treating infections, following up on suspicious neurological signs…all of those things are part of my job.

So why is it unthinkable to plan for a violent drug addict or a nutcase mass shooter taking his “Plan B” to our office from the school down the street? Hell, some of the parents our practice sees are drug addicts. Our staff has people lose their shit at them on a semi-regular basis. Why then is it terrible of me to think about a response to these potential events?

This shouldn’t be un-thinkable. It should be eminently thinkable and planned for. But the American Academy of Pediatrics treats guns as if they’re a disease rather than a “vaccine” against dangerous predators. So you won’t find any office security recommendations on the AAP website. In fact, many parents would have an absolute cow if they thought a firearm was on the premises, just like they have a cow over the idea of armed teachers in schools.

All I want to do is keep a lead injection device handy in case of such an attack. But my practice partner would defecate a cinderblock if I did, so realistically it’s never going to happen. We have lit EXIT signs, fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, and every other building safety device as required by law. But nothing with which to protect ourselves should a violent person try to invade the premises.

With the wheels in my head already turning, I started thinking about some of those un-thinkable things as if I were writing a gritty urban fantasy novel or something. I started playing “what if?”. Except this stuff isn’t fantasy, it’s reality. Violent things do happen in this world. The chances of it happening specifically here are statistically tiny, but it pays to be prepared.

I started thinking…what if we went on lockdown due to an active shooter event at the school down the street? We have inner hallways away from windows where we could shelter people. We have more than one entrance, but only the main entrance is unlocked.

If we were notified by law enforcement of such an event, that door could be quickly dead-bolted. Somebody could shoot out a window for entry I suppose, but there isn’t a lot to do about building design after the fact. And installing bullet-resistant glass seems like cost-prohibitive overkill in a building that’s over sixty years old.

If I kept a SHTF firearm at the office, it would have to be locked up. That’s non-negotiable. I’m frequently away from my desk seeing patients and there are tiny humans with curious fingers wandering all over the place. I also can’t realistically carry on-body during work hours as little children have no boundaries and are always patting on me and invading my personal space. I would be “made” in short order.

I’m thinking an AR pistol might be a viable option because of the smaller size, magazine capacity, maneuverability, velocity, and red dot.

Secure storage for such a SHTF gun would be essential. SecureIt has combination lock bolt-on safes that might work under my desk top such as the Fast box 40 and Fastbox 47. I bought a model 47 for home use, so it might work in the office too.

This would be strictly a defensive gun, obviously. I’m not Wonder Woman. Realistically, I’m not going to be clearing the building.

In the case of a lockdown, after we got everyone herded into interior rooms away from windows and doors, I’d be hunkered down behind cover watching a door that might get kicked in while we wait for the SWAT team to arrive or for law enforcement to announce the all clear. I don’t have any illusions of heroism beyond trying to protect my office staff and patients.

It might sound crazy. It might sound “unthinkable.” But if I, as the firearm owner of the practice, don’t think about it, who will?

When I did an internet search for information about medical office security, I got all kinds of hits related to HIPAA and information security, but very little about the physical security of the building and the protection of staff and patients.

Dr. John Edeen of Doctors For Responsible Gun Ownership (DRGO) has done a good deal of work regarding hospital vulnerability and advocating for workplace carry rules, but I haven’t seen much out there for medical office safety. Maybe I’m just not looking in the right place.

There is precedent here. Has everyone forgotten about the psychiatrist who defended himself and hisstaff with his own handgun in 2014?

As much as no one likes to think about it, when it comes right down to it, a SHTF office gun may be one of the few cost-effective options we have to keep our staff and patients safe in the event of a violent attack.


Dr. LateBloomer’ is the pen name of a female general pediatrician (MD, MPH, FAAP) who enjoys competitive shooting sports, including IDPA, USPSA and 3-Gun.  Evil semi-automatic firearms are her favorites. 

This article originally appeared at and is reprinted here with permission. 

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    • Bill, there you go. I was also thinking that lab coat conceals pretty well. The AR pistol is not a very good idea. Things are next to useless in the real world. Buy a rifle. Figure out a way to secure it without the partner knowing about it . I doubt he’d debate the situation if it were needed.

      • Gadsden, I’m thinking you might not have ever tried a larger AR pistol. Depending upon the config, they’re just as effective as their rifle counterparts.

        • Haz, yes I have. I base my opinion on experience. Always. Nothing that can easily be carried by a man is more effective than a rifle.

    • I recently had my annual physical. Had my EDC in my waistband, out of sight, the whole time. As usual. I always bring mine into the dr’s office over the years, and nobody’s ever known.

      • I always carry when at the doc’s office. So did my doc! I showed him mine and he showed me his…(gun that is). Unfortunately he just retired and sold his practice to a freaking corporate office with no soul.

  1. Why wouldn’t doctors office arm up?
    Plenty of people have reasons to hate their doctor or the doctor of a loved one who maybe didn’t do such a good job and pediatricians should be aware that familial violence is not uncommon.

    With the clot shot still making headlines every doctor that pushed it or refused services, scan or other treatments because of it should be looking over their shoulder. Lots of people fighting cancers at stages it never should have gotten to because everyone was shitting their pants over the flu too hard to perform routine screening.

    • “Plenty of people have reasons to hate their doctor or the doctor of a loved one who maybe didn’t do such a good job…”

      Or whatever. Like that doctor at a hospital a few years back that was carrying when an enraged patient showed up to kill him. He was lucky he ignored the ‘no guns allowed’ policy…

      • Get your 35th booster yet?

        Maybe you really think it’s important. Apparently the seasonal flu is pretty bad for morbidly obese geriatrics. That 0.5% mortality ain’t nothing to mess with.

        Not like the totally acceptable rates of stage 3 and 4 pancreatic, ovarian, prostate, breast, colon or other cancers that probably could have been caught at stage 1 or sooner in the two+ years screenings were paused.

        The most important people to keep alive are definitely the morbidly obese geriatrics. They still have so much high quality life left to live.

        • With or without screening pancreatic cancer is usually not spotted until the tumor(s) have reached Stage 3-4. Even when pancreatic cancer is found the prognosis is pretty poor.

  2. “All I want to do is keep a lead injection device handy in case of such an attack. But my practice partner would defecate a cinderblock”

    F* your practice partner. Do you want to please others?? Or have a fighting chance?? Nobody needs to know, especially if it’s in a quick access safe.

    • Yeah but if you’d get caught the partner might narc you out and then you’d probably lose your job.
      The smart thing to do would be to shoot your doc partner and keep shooting until you find one like minded.
      I do not understand why humans make everything so difficult?

      • That’s actually an excellent idea you have, Possum. She shoots competitively, team up with another doc that shoots…

  3. Sound like this Doctor needs to find a new “practice partner.” People make so many excuses to stay in bad situations. What if her partner was banging two subcritical blocks of uranium together to keep warm? At a certain point you gotta begin to blame yourself for sticking around in a bad situation.

  4. No reasonable excuse for mot carrying.
    So many mouse guns that conceal so well.
    History shows that in vast majority of active shooter cases, any ballistic resistance results in the shooter retreating, some times resulting in a private suicide by the shooter.
    I would dare say that a .380 used by someone that has actually trained with it would be enough to dissuade a bad guy from moving forward. (No promises for those baddies on drugs or psychosis.)

  5. Had an interesting conversation with my doctor a few years ago about the No Guns sign on the front door of the clinic. I asked him who that sign was supposed to prevent from bringing a firearm into the building. He actually said, everyone. I then asked him if he had ever had a disgruntled patient that required being removed from the building. He said yes a couple over the years. I then asked if he truly believed that sign would protect him and others from a disgruntled person, wanting to exact revenge. After a short pause, he said probably not. On my next visit the sign was gone. Whether or not they have an office gun. I can’t say, but I carry mine to every visit now. Once inside the exam room, I remove it and place it on the shelf over the magazine rack. Until the exam is over.

    • You are much more likely to be killed by a quack doctor than by a gun. Doctors mistakes are a top cause of death in the US.

      • Unbelievable, but true. My wife’s mother was killed by multiple doctors. First by the doctor who kept telling her nothing was wrong, until her rectal cancer reached stage three. She lived a couple of years after that. Then by the surgeon who sliced her colon open by mistake, after a relapse. Then by the doctors who subsequently neglected to start antibiotics. She died from sepsis. The woman just couldn’t win when it came to doctors.

  6. So sorry to read that you think vaccinating your kids is a smart thing to do. You need to seriously read up on all the crap that is in vaccines these days. Aluminum and mercury are just a start. Do you think it’s a good idea to inject that into your children’s bodies?

    • Calling Doctor Mad Hatter
      Calling Doctor Mad Hatter.
      When your full of mercury and you get shot you’ll go down grinning.
      That’s a plus.
      Vaccinated children have an advantage.

    • Let’s see, anti-vaccination quack doctors and their nut job cult followers claims or well documented health risks of preventable childhood diseases? That is a difficult choice.

    • I suppose if the shooter makes an appointment and stayes why they want the appointment that may work.
      But what about the guy that shows up and suddenly reaches in their pocket and yanks out his shooter. You cant call “Time out”. While you retrieve your locked gunm.
      A defensive firearmn needs to be immediately accessible.

      • Yessir. As the first comment in this thread said. J frame in the pocket.

        Guns locked in desks or cabinets are useless.

  7. Talon holsters makes a pocket holster with a stiff leather flap so it looks like a wallet or phone from the outside. Useful for hospitals and doctors offices where guns are banned.

  8. unfortunately, in my town there are only 2 specialty practices that are no longer hospital owned. The hospital owned practices generally are provider based, meaning that they are considered a part of the hospital in the eye of the law, no matter how physically seperated from the main building. carrying in my office is thus a felony. I haven’t worn a lab coat in years, and scrubs have few places to hide a holster. I’m in and out of the operating room on any given day so even less chance to carry. It’s a no go for us, but there are several documented cases of patients coming after their urologist. you operate on a penis and any complication no matter how expected is a direct blow to a persons manhood. the most recent one i heard of was a guy who blamed the urologist for ruining his life with with a vasectomy. you can’t fix crazy.

  9. My dentist recently removed the No Guns sign that was at his office entrance. I didn’t get a chance to ask him about it, but will when I have an opportunity. Same with the optometrist.
    I asked him, and found out he’s a deer hunter, and had the sign up for awhile only because of insurance requirements (which later changed). Most of the specialists around here operate out of hospital owned offices, and they call the cops if a firearm is noticed. That’s hospital policy, because medical facilities are not prohibited zones according to Ohio law unless it’s a facility for treatment of the mentally ill. Although, if a hospital facility has a special wing or floor for this, I wonder whether the prohibition would extend to the entire building…

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