Doctors are standing up to NRA officials telling them to "stay in their lane"

Doctors aren't going to stay quiet after an NRA tweet told them to "stay in their lane"

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published November 11, 2018 11:00AM (EST)

Thousands of protesters flood the Utah State Capitol on, March 24, 2018, seeking stronger gun-control measures in response to the school shooting in Parklandd, Fla. (AP/Rick Bowmer)
Thousands of protesters flood the Utah State Capitol on, March 24, 2018, seeking stronger gun-control measures in response to the school shooting in Parklandd, Fla. (AP/Rick Bowmer)

Earlier this week the National Rifle Association posted a tweet that criticized doctors for supporting gun control and advised them to "stay in their lane." Now the doctors are pushing back on Twitter.

"Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane," the NRA wrote in its tweet on Wednesday. "Half of the articles in Annals of Internal Medicine are pushing for gun control. Most upsetting, however, the medical community seems to have consulted NO ONE but themselves."

Since the NRA posted that tweet, medical professionals have taken to Twitter to let the powerful gun lobby know that #ThisIsOurLane.

The medical community's outcry against the NRA's tweet wasn't limited to the #ThisIsOurLane hashtag. The common theme was that these doctors have to deal with the victims of gun violence on a regular basis and, as a result, are amply qualified on both a professional and moral level to support gun control legislation.

One San Francisco-based forensic pathologist, Dr. Judy Melinek, was interviewed by The Guardian about a tweet she posted denouncing the NRA's position that doctors need to butt out of gun control conversations.

"I was just so incensed," Melinek explained. "I was so angry, thus the foul language. Here I was, going into work for a case that involved a gunshot wound. I had another one earlier this week. And I was just so incensed that anyone would put down doctors who try every single day to try and save people’s lives."

She later added, "We aren’t against the second amendment. What we are against is not researching, not putting effort into researching, and not putting the funding into researching what can be used to prevent gun violence and death, whether it’s trigger locks, security, training or the idea of requiring insurance and having people have insurance in case their gun is used to kill someone else. We need to have the research and we need to have the data to back it up, and right now that’s not happening."

The abstract from the American College of Physicians paper that incurred the NRA's ire clearly established that it was approaching the issue of gun violence as a public health problem.

"Firearm violence continues to be a public health crisis in the United States that requires the nation's immediate attention," the abstract explained. "The ACP is concerned about not only the alarming number of mass shootings in the United States but also the daily toll of firearm violence in neighborhoods, homes, workplaces, and public and private places across the country. The policy recommendations in this paper build on, strengthen, and expand current ACP policies approved by the Board of Regents in April 2014 and are based on an analysis of approaches that the evidence suggests will be effective in reducing deaths and injuries from firearm-related violence. The ACP has long advocated for policies to reduce the rate of firearm injuries and deaths in the United States and once again calls on its members, nonmember physicians, nonphysician clinicians, policymakers, and the public to take action on this important issue."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Doctors Gun Control Gun Regulation Nra Stay In Your Lane Twitter