# 280 Is your patient carrying a weapon?
Persons entering an emergency facility while carrying weapons are of three types:
- Officers armed and on duty.
- Citizens, lawfully armed, or workers with 'tools'
- Criminals, illicitly armed, who try to hide their weapons.
All have probably entered unintentionally with an unanticipated problem. The former two will be open and cooperative, if somewhat embarrassed. The last, does not wish to be 'caught' and will try to hide it, or shift it to a companion.
- Be alert to behavioral clues or signs of affiliation. Vocabulary or speech patterns may be typical to the various professions of arms, even if 'off-duty'.
- Concealed undressing, furtive talk with or handing things to a friend.
- 'Clunk' sounds, or heavy objects, may be weapons, especially if in pockets, sleeves, waistbands, ankle/foot areas, necklines, within hoods or hair, or drawstrings into such areas.
- Weapons may not be simply a gun or knife; familiar objects, e.g., Phillips Head Screwdrivers, box-cutters, rat-tailed comb or hair pick, broken toothbrush (prison 'shank'), heavy keys, weighted fob or ball on cord, padlocks, wrenches, heavy key-chains, safety-toe boots, even clothing, can be lethal in hands that intend so.
- Be especially alert if potential targets of reprisal (gang members, victims, officers) are in the department.
- Officers and lawfully armed citizens will tell you, and yield to another officer, or locked storage container. Criminals will conceal or try to persuade you that covert weapons or non-significant objects. Workers legitimately carrying tools may not have thought of them as weapons but should be cooperative.
- Apart from any intended violence, innocent arms carriers in the medical environment may present risk such as some Peace Officers and others, inadequately screened, who have been inside the MRI magnet safety zone and the firearm was drawn from the holster or hand into the magnet with accidental discharge of a round from impact. Some metal pistols have been magnetized. All polymer-framed pistols have metal parts and ammunition but might be thought of as 'plastic' rather than metal. "Do you have any metal on you?" is not a sufficient question.
- Follow your organization's security policies regarding confrontation, search, safekeeping, or seizure.
Beitia, A. O., Meyers, S. P., Kanal, E., & Bartell, W. (2002). Spontaneous discharge of a firearm in an MR imaging environment. American Journal of Roentgenology, 178(5), 1092-1094.
Smollins, Mike. Lynbrook police: Man injured, arrested after gun goes off in MRI machine. LIHerald.com. (Long Island, NY) Posted June 20, 2018.
PoliceOne.com. Officer Safety Alert: MRI Unit Causes Malfunction of Officer's Issue Firearm. April 26, 2003. Source: Sing, Lieutenant Douglas K. Manheim Township (Lancaster County, Pennsylvania) Police Department Revised March 2002.
Tim Evans. firstname.lastname@example.org. Gun discharges in MRI at Indianapolis Veterans Affairs hospital. "IndyStar" Published 5:19 p.m. ET Dec. 31, 2015.
Andy Geller. DISARMING MACHINE: COP LOSES GUN IN MRI. New York Post. September 16, 2000.
All Tips: 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 - Updated! (7/16/2018)