MRI Machine Magnetically Grabs Officer’s Gun and Fires It

October 8 2014
by GSL Staff
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This is an incident from 2002, but we just saw it, so here it is.

A police officer who was preparing to have an MRI scan performed found himself disarmed and his gun in the possession of the MRI machine, which fired it.

Here is the full explanation from a paper written on the incident in the American Journal of Roentgenology:

An off-duty police officer went to an outpatient imaging center (not affiliated with our institution) in western New York State to have an MR imaging examination. The facility housed a 1.5-T MR unit (Signa; General Electric Medical Systems, Milwaukee, WI) with active shielding. The officer was carrying a model 1991 A-1 compact.45 caliber semiautomatic pistol (Colt’s Manufacturing, Hartford, CT).

The officer notified the technologist that he was carrying the weapon before entering the MR dressing room. The technologist told the officer to take the gun with him. The technologist intended to meet the officer in the MR patient waiting area before the examination and secure the weapon in that room, where he felt it would be safe. However, the officer apparently misunderstood and took the gun into the MR suite. The technologist was entering the officer’s personal data into the computer and did not see him entering the MR suite.

Once the officer was inside the MR suite, the gun was pulled from his hand as he attempted to place the gun on top of a cabinet 3 ft (0.9 m) away from the magnet bore. The gun was immediately pulled into the bore, where it struck the left side and spontaneously discharged a round into the wall of the room at the rear of the magnet. Fortunately, no one was injured. Although the gun struck the magnet bore, only minimal cosmetic damage occurred to the magnet itself. The MR unit had full functional capability immediately after the gun discharged. The weapon’s thumb safety was reportedly engaged when the gun discharged.

An unsuccessful attempt to remove the gun from the magnet resulted in the gun being pulled to the right side of the magnet (Fig. 1). The decision was then made to power down the magnet to remove the gun.

If you’re wondering how this could happen, maybe this video of some folks playing around an MRI machine that is being decommissioned can shed some light on it. Guns are generally made to be drop proof, but they aren’t made to withstand the forces exerted by a powerful electromagnet.

h/t Bearing Arms

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