Doctors take on NRA over gun violence

Doctors take on NRA over gun violence
The NRA responded to an article by the American College of Physicians about gun control. Some doctors are sounding off on the NRA’s response. (CNN)

(CNN) – In the aftermath of two deadly mass shootings, there’s a heated political showdown between two unlikely rivals – the National Rifle Association and the doctors who treat victims of gun violence.

Some doctors are taking a stand against the NRA after the advocacy group responded to an article by the American College of Physicians about gun control, saying doctors should “stay in their lane.”

In the article, the physicians called firearm violence “a public health crisis that requires the nation’s immediate attention.”

Doctors shared new recommendations on how physicians can help reduce gun violence, such as counseling patients on the risks of having firearms in the home.

But the doctors also weighed in on the issues of background checks and illegal gun sales.

That prompted a tweet from the NRA, which said: “Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane…the medical community seems to have consulted no one but themselves."

But that broadside came just hours before the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, CA, where 12 people were gunned down.

Some doctors are outraged.

“For a group to simply dismiss the medical community, that is on the front line of taking care of these patients, is absolutely unacceptable,” said Dr. Joseph Sakran, a trauma surgeon at Johns Hopkins University. “Where is the NRA when I’m having to tell those loved ones that their family member has died, and is not coming back?"

Sakran not only treats many gunshot victims – he was one.

In 1994, when he was just 17, Sakran was at a high school football game when a fight broke out, and someone started shooting. He ended up with a paralyzed vocal cord.

After the NRA tweet, Sakran responded: “I cannot believe the audacity of the NRA.”

Sakran’s tweet was followed by an avalanche of others from fellow doctors, slamming the NRA.

One, accompanied by an X-ray, said: “I helped save a gun violence victim in med school. Those are my hands holding pressure on his femoral artery. The bullet is right by my fingertips. This is me in my lane, NRA.”

Recent accounts from weapons experts on the guns used in high-profile shootings have intensified the political debate.

CBS’ “60 Minutes” recently profiled the effects of bullets fired from an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, one of the guns used in the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Oct. 27.

Compared to a standard handgun bullet fired on a gelatin target simulating human tissue, the AR-15 bullet proved much more devastating.

That’s one of the many complaints from doctors – that it’s harder and harder to save the lives of people hit with high-powered ammunition.

The NRA pushed back, telling CNN the doctors attacking the group are pushing a gun-control agenda that wouldn’t have prevented the recent mass shootings.

“We have both the possibility and the responsibility to weigh in on this issue that we’re having to deal with on a daily basis,” Sakran said.

The NRA’s pushback also includes several tweets from doctors who support the NRA’s position.

One physician tweeted that articles written by anti-gun doctors are not from people practicing medicine in the trenches.

And one retired physician said he’s appalled by what he calls the “leftist direction organized medicine” has taken.

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