Nov 12, 2018

#ThisIsOurLane: Doctors hit back at pro-gun group NRA

The personal stories and blood-splattered photos posted on social media in response by doctors and surgeons were shared hundreds and thousands of times, fuelling another debate about the reality of gun violence in the US. Dr Morris was one of many using Twitter to hit back at the NRA, joining 70,000 others using the hashtag #ThisIsOurLane. "People need to see the reality of what we deal with. Too often, we get stuck on the same old philosophical arguments about gun violence," Dr Morris, who is based in Utah, explained to the BBC. Guns send 8,300 children to hospital each year in the US, the majority of whom die, while the number of violent gun deaths in America is greater than the Middle East, once armed conflict-related casualties are factored out. The question of studying gun violence as a public health issue, an approach Dr Morris supports, is at the centre of a long-running conflict between the health profession and the NRA. The NRA tweet that spurred so much anger was prompted by the publication of a paper by the American College of Physicians stating that medical professionals have a "Special responsibility" to speak out on prevention of gun-related injuries and that they should support "Appropriate regulation of the purchase of legal firearms." For years, the NRA, which spent more then $5 million on political lobbying in 2017, has tried to stifle public research into gun violence, including by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. A bill passed in March allows the CDC to research the causes of gun violence, but a 1996 law still prevents the organisation from advocating or promoting gun control.

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