The NRA has drawn the anger of physicians in Philadelphia and across the country after the group mocked doctors for outlining ways to curb injuries and deaths caused by guns.
"Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane," the NRA wrote on Twitter last week, promoting a nearly 900-word unsigned opinion piece on the organization's Institute for Legislative Action website that complained that "some doctors' collective hobby is opining on firearms policy."
The NRA's hostility toward doctors is a response to a new position paper from the American College of Physicians, which was published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Annals of Internal Medicine and offers nine strategies aimed at reducing the number of people killed in firearms-related incidents.
Chief among the ACP's suggestions is to address firearm safety as a public health issue, which is opposed by the NRA and most Republicans in office. In 1996, Congress passed an amendment backed by the NRA that banned the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from using federal funds to "advocate or promote gun control." Congress also cut the CDC's budget by the same amount it had been spending on gun violence research.
Many local doctors, angered by the NRA's open hostility and the timing of the tweet (posted just hours before 12 people were killed in a shooting at a bar in California), took to social media using the #ThisIsMyLane and #ThisIsOurLane hashtags to respond to the organization's criticism.
Stephanie Boone, a trauma surgeon based in Newark, N.J., shared a photo of a bloody operating room floor along with the caption, "She didn't make it."
"My lane is a pregnant woman shot in a moment of rage by her partner," Boone wrote in an earlier tweet directed at the NRA. "She survived because the baby stopped the bullet. Have you ever had to deliver a shattered baby?" Boone also shared a photo of the blue chair she said she sits in when she informs parents their children have died.
Anna Weiss, a pediatric emergency medicine physician at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, wrote, "I've lost track of how many young people I've seen die from their gunshot wounds — how many mothers I've seen wailing over their bodies. This is my lane."
Marleny Franco, an attending physician who also works in CHOP's department of emergency medicine, called on the NRA to "stop disrespecting the folks that clean up your mess."
David Sullivan, a Philadelphia paramedic, shared a photo of a stretcher covered in blood and added, "they didn't survive."
"When you 'upset' the @NRA, you can be sure whatever you are doing is right," wrote Hannah Bergbower, a registered nurse and instructor at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine. "Lobbying for guns, behind bullet proof windows, they cannot understand the feeling of a hand over a bullet hole, in a humans chest."
The NRA's tweet drew condemnation from physicians and nurses from across the country. Dave Morris, a trauma surgeon in Utah, shared a photo of his blood-covered scrubs. "Can't post a patient photo, so this is a selfie," Morris wrote.