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Clash with NRA energizes doctors' push for gun laws

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published 2 weeks ago - Duration: 02:24s

Clash with NRA energizes doctors' push for gun laws

A recent clash with the National Rifle Association (NRA) has shown some doctors who treat gunshot victims a way to heal their own trauma: through activism against gun violence.

Chris Dignam has more.

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Clash with NRA energizes doctors' push for gun laws

Recent shootings in North Carolina, California and Colorado have revived some of the activism against gun violence that had been energized by students from Parkland, Florida last year.

But, since 2018, another group has started a movement of their own: the trauma doctors who treat America's gunshot victims. (SOUND BITE) DR. STEPHANIE BONNE, SAYING: "I want to fix this.

I don't want to see another kid shot.

I don't want to talk to another mother or brother or sister or wife." Dr. Stephanie Bonne, an activist and trauma surgeon at Rutgers University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, said seeing the latest shootings on the news only added to the trauma she witnessed herself in the operating room.

(SOUND BITE) DR. STEPHANIE BONNE, SAYING: "That is where the burnout sort of comes in." She's part of a movement to urge policy changes by treating gun violence as a public health issue, and says the cause has helped her cope with seeing a steady flow of gunshot victims wheeled into the trauma bay.

(SOUND BITE) DR. STEPHANIE BONNE, SAYING: "You can't just become overwhelmed and paralyzed by something.

You have to do the things that you can do with what's in front of you, and then keep moving forward.

And that's actually what I feel like is happening.

I think the focus on research and really understanding this problem from a public health perspective is something that is new and contemporary.

It's a new approach, and I think that that is ultimately going to be the approach that is going to curb this problem." Her movement got a boost after a clash with the National Rifle Association, which criticized the American College of Physicians for publishing a paper that supported "appropriate regulation of the purchase of legal firearms," saying in a tweet that "Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane." That set off a viral response, with trauma surgeons around the country posting pictures of their scrubs and operating rooms after treating gunshot victims, including the hashtag "#ThisIsOurLane." Dr. Joseph Sakran was one of them.

(SOUND BITE) DR. JOSEPH SAKRAN, SAYING: "Gun violence is very personal." Sakran was a victim of gun violence himself, having survived a gunshot to the throat when he was 17 years old.

(SOUND BITE) DR. JOSEPH SAKRAN, SAYING: "We are part of the solution.

We're the people that are, frankly, in the center of all of this, having to take care of these patients day in and day out." The #ThisIsOurLane movement has spread.

In Pennsylvania, a group of doctors formed a coalition which urges changes in public policy to state legislators and supports funding for gun violence research.

The NRA has opposed research that it says is intended to restrict the right to keep and bear arms.

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