Wearing My Handgun into My Doctor’s Office

Andrew F. Branca

I addressed the issue of wearing my handgun into my doctor’s office some years ago, when I first moved into my present neighborhood. It had long been my practice to have my blood analyzed for lead content every other year or so, as I handload and shoot several thousand lead bullets a year (mostly outdoors), and thought it worth the small fee to ensure I wasn’t poisoning myself. (Incidentally, my blood lead content has never turned out to be beyond the norm, or even at the high end of the norm, so in hindsight I have no rational basis on which to recommend such testing to others with similar levels of lead exposure.)

In any case, the first time I went into the doctor’s office to request the blood test for lead content, my doctor asked me why I thought I needed it. I explained that I did some firearms training and was regularly exposed to both solid and vaporized lead. Well, he jotted all this down right in my medical records, bless him.

Since then, any time I’ve had to go into the doctor’s office and been asked to do something that would expose my handgun (which is practically every time), I first explain that I don’t want to make the nurse/doctor nervous but that I should let her know that my job requires me to carry a firearm (leaving unsaid that my primary “job” consists of ensuring I don’t end up as carrion), and that there should be a notation in my medical records to that effect. Sure enough, the nurse finds the reference to firearms training, and I end up being treated no differently than if I were an LEO.

By the way, I’ve made similar explanations both when buying suits and sports jackets (my daily “uniform”) and when I need clothes tailored (i.e., patches put inside of coats where the gun has worn the lining out, or moving belt loops on pants so they don’t interfere with holster placement). I’ll generally go into the store, and ask to speak with the manager. When the manager shows up, I’ll explain that I’ve come in to buy a couple of suits, jackets, etc., but that I have an unusual fitting requirement, in that my job requires that I carry a concealed firearm, that I need to be sure that the firearm won’t be apparent under the jackets I buy, and that therefore I’ll need to be wearing the firearm while trying on and getting fitted for the jackets. I then explain that I want to make sure that this won’t be a problem for the store, but that the manager should be free to let me know if it is. I do not explicitly tell them at this point that I’m presently carrying a firearm.

So far, I’ve never had a problem with this approach. The manager usually just nods, says something to the effect of “That’s no problem,” takes me over to one of the more experienced sales people and explains my needs to them; the sales person will then pass on this explanation to their in-house tailor. If anything, I get better service (shepherded right to the front of the line, so to speak) than I would otherwise receive.

Just my experience, for what it’s worth.

Comments, suggestions, contributions? Let me know