OPINION: Doctors shouldn’t ‘stay in their lane,’ NRA is wrong about gun violence

Even here in Manhattan, firearms are a common sight, particularly at collection tables like this one. (Archive Photo | Collegian Media Group)

On Nov. 7, 2018, the National Rifle Association replied to a paper by the American College of Physicians. The ACP paper shared an overwhelming consensus for stricter gun control among doctors.

The NRA’s reply consisted of a tweet linking their own article, titled “Surprise: Physician group rehashes same tired gun control policies,” with a caption that told doctors to “stay in their lane” because they have “consulted NO ONE but themselves” in regards to their article.

Doctors across the country are in outrage. If commenting on the effects of gun control from their own bloodstained experiences isn’t in their lane, then what is?

My question is, who exactly should they consult? And why?

A law was passed in 1996 called the Dickey Amendment. It states that none of the funds given to the Centers for Disease Control for injury prevention can be used to advocate for gun control.

Not only does this law make it essentially impossible to get any medical research done on the effects of gun violence, but it was brought about because the CDC found in 1993 that bringing a firearm into the home was actually detrimental to the safety of the home.

After this report, the NRA started lobbying until the Dickey Amendment was created.

The men and women who have worked in hospitals for the last ten or twenty years have seen the effects of gun violence. These people have gone through their insane residencies and paid their dues to get where they are now.

Doctors, particularly ones from trauma wards, would have a better understanding of the effects of gun violence than anyone else, except for maybe police officers. They would know first-hand the most horrendous outcomes of carrying a firearm.

Doctors have their credentials, their experiences telling families that someone has died, their memories of working on children who had their skulls blown open by a stray bullet. They are in their lane.

By comparison, what exactly are the NRA’s credentials when it comes to speaking about gun control?

The NRA is stated to be a “nonprofit organization that advocates for gun rights.” But nonprofit seems a bit strange to me since you have to pay membership dues in order to join their group.

When I clicked on their website, the first thing that popped up was an ad to “renew or upgrade your membership at special rates that will never be offered again.”

When scrolling through their social media pages, there are many ads for various guns, gear and even handbags for their members to purchase.

I’m not saying that other organizations don’t do this, I’m saying that it is wrong no matter who’s doing it. There is a clear agenda here, and that agenda is all about money.

They are advocates for “gun rights,” but “gun control” does not mean getting rid of the right to carry a firearm, which seems to be the angle that the NRA and every other gun advocate takes in order to spark fear into people. Fear sells, I suppose.

Those in favor of more gun control are just trying to make it more difficult for violent people to get a firearm. The good people who want to carry can still do so.

And yes, there are those who say that a criminal is just going to find a way, and they are not wrong. That doesn’t mean we have to make it easier for them to do so legally, and it would in no way prevent those good people who have nothing to hide from getting their firearm.

That is the point the ACP is trying to make in their article, and they should have more influence in the way our government runs as a group with medical experience in the matter.

The NRA needs to advocate for research on the subject of gun violence instead of preventing it because they didn’t like the results. I think the NRA should stay in its lane.

Alycea Hammond is a Collegian staff writer and a sophomore in English. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.