This study investigated ambulatory clinic patients' perceptions regarding the physician's role in counseling about firearms in the United States. In all, 137 (94% response rate) patients completed a self-administered survey instrument during their office visit. Slightly more than half (56%) of the patients thought that physicians should talk to patients about guns in the home and 64% of the patients believed that doctors can affect public opinion about guns by counseling patients about gun-related dangers. One in five (21%) respondents reported that they, or a family member had been shot and 58% reported knowing someone personally who had been shot. Of the 23% who reported that someone in their home owned a gun, 52% indicated that the reason for owning a gun was for personal protection. Implications of the results for physician counseling are discussed.