Report Suggests MRI Machines and Guns Don't Mix Well

(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRIs use powerful magnets to get a look inside the human body. It’s kind of a fascinating process, but it comes with some instructions that need to be adhered to.


For me, the biggest issue was lying completely still while they’re conducting the test. I mean, I don’t lay still while I’m asleep, so this was a challenge.

Another instruction you’re given, though, is to remove all metal objects. After all, these are giant magnets.

It seems one person figured their firearm didn’t count as a metal object, though. That’s when things allegedly got interesting.

A newly-filed report by the Food and Drug Administration describes an incident in a Wisconsin hospital where a woman was shot in the buttocks after bringing a gun into a room with an MRI machine.

According to the FDA, the 57-year-old woman brought the concealed handgun into the room. The gun was attracted to the magnet of the MRI and filed a single round, which hit her in the right buttock.

The injuries weren’t serious, thankfully.

During the screening process, the patient was asked if she had any objects containing iron, to which she claimed she wasn’t.

Uh…guns contain iron.

My only guess is that she figured that her gun might contain steel, but didn’t realize that iron is a component of steel. As such, it’s a no-go for an MRI machine. That’s trying to give her the benefit of the doubt on this one, though, because I don’t see how anyone would be unable to comprehend that their gun is actually magnetic and that they’re going into a giant magnet.

She’s fortunate that her injures were superficial, but it could easily have gone a completely different direction. Not only could she have been more seriously injured or killed, someone else might be.


If it had, the fault wouldn’t have been with the hospital or facility housing the MRI. It would have been with her because they took reasonable steps to make sure everything was copacetic. She’s the one who failed to disclose she had a firearm.

And I get why someone might not be comfortable admitting they’re carrying a gun to someone in the healthcare field. It’s not like medical industry hasn’t done its best to present itself as anti-gun. You might not want to disclose you’ve got a firearm on your person in a case like this.

But with an MRI, they’re not asking because they’re intrusive. It’s because it’s a legitimate hazard. Plus, frankly, I doubt anyone figured they needed to ask about a gun specifically because they just asked about iron-containing items.

Or maybe this woman figured her gun was polymer or something and thus didn’t count at all, like in Die Hard II when the Glocks don’t set off airport metal detectors. If that’s the case, this probably falls under the category of “stupid should hurt.”

Frankly, I could make the case that it falls under that category regardless of what reasons she could care to give.

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