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The NRA Told Doctors to 'Stay in Their Lane.' Now Doctors Are Clapping Back.

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Doctors are fighting fire with fire after the National Rifle Association (NRA) tweeted Wednesday that “anti-gun doctors” should “stay in their lane” in response to a position paper about gun violence.

The paper was published in October by the Annals of Internal Medicine, an academic medical journal published by the American College of Physicians, and featured in an email put out by the medical journal with other articles related to gun violence. In the position paper, the authors called firearm violence “a public health crisis that requires the nation’s immediate attention,” and recommended policies they believe will help reduce gun violence.

The NRA tweeted a response from its official Twitter handle:

Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane. 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.

The so-called “self-important” medical community was quick to respond, some even using the hashtag #ThisIsOurLane to explain why gun violence is, in fact, something the medical community has authority on.

The American Association of Suicidology also condemned the NRA’s tweet, citing that half of all American suicide deaths result from firearms and that nearly two out of every three gun deaths in America is a suicide. In a press release, it said:

Scientists and the broader gun owning community should work together to solve the problems of gun violence in general and gun suicide in particular. The gun lobby can best serve its constituents by supporting this alliance, advocating for substantially increased funding for gun violence prevention research, accurately reporting the robust and undeniable association between firearm access and death by suicide, and promoting safe storage

Research on gun violence is limited. Since 1996, there’s been a ban on federal funding for gun violence research that could be seen as “pro-gun control,” a measure that was enacted by Congress and championed by the NRA.

The American Psychological Association has long argued that America should tackle guns like we do other public health issues, noting that harm caused by motor vehicles, toxic household products, tobacco and other products with inherent risks have been significantly reduced once tackled in a systematic way.

As Alex Limkakeng, Associate Professor of Surgery at Duke University School of Medicine, tweeted, “If @NRA had stayed in your lane, promoted gun safety, safe storage, and more effective enforcement of existing laws, it wouldn’t have fallen to us. But as it is #ThisIsOurLane. When you show you understand the difference between ‘anti-gun’ and ‘anti-gun injury’ we’ll consult you.”

Originally published: November 9, 2018
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