We see gunshot wounds on Monday, we see gunshot wounds on Tuesday, we see gunshot wounds on Wednesday… We are on the front lines of taking care of these patients. There is a fiery debate online after the NRA says doctors should “stay in their lane.” When a lot of us in the medical community saw this communication, we were incensed. Doctors across the United States are trending on Twitter under the hashtag “#ThisIsOurLane” in response to the NRA. The danger of making it into a partisan issue is that people continue to be injured and continue to die. I’m Mallory Williams. I see more gunshot wounds as a trauma surgeon here in the United States per week than I did when I was serving in Kandahar, Afghanistan. There’s no question about it. My name is Amy Goldberg. I’ve been a trauma surgeon for greater than 25 years. We see here at Temple University Hospital about 500 gunshot wounds a year. My name is Joe Sakran and I’m a trauma critical care surgeon. The city of Baltimore sees a tremendous number of gunshot wound victims annually. This guy, a young, 20-something-year-old male, after a gunshot wound. Looks like it’s a transmediastinal gunshot wound; is that right Dr. Wong? That’s right. So you can see here the lung is collapsed, and this right here is the trajectory of the bullet. There are some injuries that we see that despite the best medical technology, we’re not able to save those patients. So the way you save those patients is prevent them from ever happening in the first place. Over the past 20 plus years there’s been really a moratorium on federal funding of research to look at the cause of gun violence. Trying to provide the care that those patients need after they’ve been shot is not enough. We have to do more. We are facing, in this country, a public health crisis. We need the federal dollars appropriated to this disease in order to address it adequately and to address it with data. And if we do nothing, and maintain the status quo, one million Americans will be shot in the next decade. American College of Physicians provided some recommendations on the approach to firearm injury prevention. So on November 7th, the NRA sent out the communication that essentially said that doctors should stay in their lane. Doctors across the United States are trending on Twitter. There is a fiery debate online after the NRA says doctors should “stay in their lane.” When a lot of us in the medical community saw this communication, we were incensed. When the NRA told the medical community to mind its own business, doctors fought back. They’re showing graphic pictures of bullet wounds, etc. They expect us to simply just clinically care for the patients, and not do anything else. The idea of talking about gun ownership as a science and ways to limit gun ownership in order to maximize public health I gotta tell you that creeps me out. It is none of your doctor’s business as to whether or not you should own guns. I mean they’re asking about legislation. That’s not care, and it creates a weird kind of relationship with you and your doctor. The reality is that part of our responsibility is injury prevention. When there were motor vehicle fatalities in the sixties and seventies, we didn’t get rid of cars. We made seat belts and airbags and roads safer, you know, same thing with tobacco. So we have to approach this in the same manner. One of the things that the NRA has been very successful at doing is to really separate gun owners from non-gun owners. And that’s an illogical construct. The gun owner in America is likely not to be a monolithic voice. This is me as a combat surgeon and lieutenant colonel at the time, practicing with the M-16 rifle. This is at the range at Kandahar air base. I understand the rationale for people wanting to exercise their second amendment right as a part of their life. I think gun owners want the same thing that non-gun owners want and that’s safe communities. This is a part of our health as a nation. As a trauma surgeon, I kinda see the ramifications of it all. You know, you had a gunshot that came in through your hip. Tell me a little bit about your physical therapy; I understand that you’ve been walking around the hospital with some assistance. When I first came in, I couldn’t feel nothing. But after the surgery I started feeling from my hip to my knee, now from my knee all the way down to my ankle. This is our lane; we must have a voice. Who better to be able to talk about the impact of a firearm on a patient’s life, right beneath the patient themselves, than the doctor who was directly responsible for caring for those injuries. These are instruments that we use when our patients come in with gunshot wounds and they present with no pulse and no blood pressure. And this instrument, as brutal as it looks, really helps us separate the ribs so that we can adequately visualize the heart and lungs and stop what’s bleeding. The stapler is really just something that trauma surgeons have come upon to stop bleeding from gunshot wounds or gunshot holes in the heart. The more you see of these injuries, day after day and night after night and year after year, you are moved. And I do believe that trauma surgeons really just want to communicate that to a society that we believe cares. This is the 38 caliber fragment that was given to me. I usually keep it on my dresser. I remember the day very clearly, September 23rd, 1994. We were going to the first high school football game of the year. There was a fight that had broken out, and a guy pulled out a gun and started firing into the crowd. And I got hit in the throat with a random bullet that ruptured my windpipe and ended up in my shoulder. It’s a reminder of what I’ve been through personally, but it’s also a reminder of the work that we have yet to be done. This is not a Democratic issue. It’s not a Republican issue. This is an American issue. The tweet that I wrote regarding “stay in your lane” really expressed my view of gun violence as being a public health crisis. When we as doctors say ‘for your high blood pressure, don’t take any sodium,’ it’s not that we’re accused of being anti-sodium. The only agenda that we have is taking care of our patients and really advocating for their health. The country really needs to do something urgently, before each one of us is affected more personally. Just as we have spoke up about tobacco, just as we have spoken up about drinking and driving, I find this to be a logical continuum that the gun discussion would include a medical voice.