NRA, medical professionals spark fight on gun violence; Solving problem proves difficult yet necessary


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In a Twitter war between the NRA and licensed doctors, the fight against gun violence is reignited once again. Arguments such as these suggest the need for a real solution to be implemented.
The scandal began when several medical professionals addressed gun violence. Dr. Garen Wintemute, of the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California Davis Medical Center stated, “We need to ask our patients about firearms, counsel them on safe firearm behaviors, and take further action when an imminent hazard is present,” within an editorial in the Annals of Internal Medicine. After several opinions were shared, the NRA crafted a tweet in response.
The National Rifle Association tweeted, “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.” This tweet incited a war between doctors and the NRA. Both Dr. Joseph V. Sakran and Dr. Esther Choo tweeted responses.
“Dr. Joseph V. Sakran is an Assistant Professor of Surgery, Associate Chief of the Division of Acute Care Surgery, and Director of Emergency General Surgery at The Johns Hopkins Hospital” (Hopkins Medicine). He tweeted stating that medical professionals will not “stay in their lane,” and they will help to stop “senseless tragedies” from occuring.
Dr. Esther Choo is an Emergency Doctor, Associate Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine and the Department of Health Services at the Oregon Health & Science University, Yale graduate, Associate Director of Brown’s Division of Sex and Gender in Emergency Medicine. She spoke out saying, “We are not self-important: we are important to the care of others. We are not anti-gun: we are anti-bullet holes in our patients. We consult with everyone but extremists. Most upsetting, actually, is death and disability from gun violence that is unparalleled in the world.”
How do we solve the debate? While a complex issue, this problem has been mended before.
Countries such as Japan, the UK, Australia, and Norway have hindered gun violence in different ways. Japan puts its citizens through rigorous training to obtain a firearm. Once retrieving a gun license in Japan, the only firearms available are shotguns and air-rifles, reducing the threat of devastating shootings (Business Insider). The number of gun deaths per 100,000 people in Japan is zero according to 2013 data while the same of the United States is 10.54 (BBC). If this policy was paralleled in the United States, it would be a compromise of both keeping the right to bear arms, but also reducing the risk of a gun falling into unsafe hands.
The United Kingdom took a similar approach. They passed legislation banning the private ownership of handguns, banned semi automatic and pump-action firearms, and began a $200 million buyback program. The result is 50 to 60 gun-related deaths a year in a population of 56 million. The United States is around six times larger with almost 160 times as many gun-related deaths.
Australia began a multimillion dollar buyback program as well. As a result, gun-related deaths were cut in half. Both gun-related suicides and gun-related homicides shrunk massively. Those are two large issues within the United States.
Norway has a different view on gun violence. Norway does not have harsh restrictions on guns, but they have a much smaller percentage of guns within the population than the United States has. The reason they don’t have large amounts of gun deaths is because “social cohesion between citizens and the government goes a long way toward ensuring a (mostly) peaceful society” (Business Insider). In the United States, citizens have grown to distrust the government and media therefore furthering conflict.
The one thing that can be agreed on is that a change needs to occur. Deaths due to gun violence are preventable, and we need to stop them from occurring.
The system in Japan seems to be the most compatible to the United States. Without losing the right to bear arms, we can limit who can bear them, and what arms they can bear. It may be impossible to completely eradicate gun violence, but the best attempt would be Japan’s plan of action. Stop the pointless deaths. End gun violence.

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NRA, medical professionals spark fight on gun violence; Solving problem proves difficult yet necessary