College's call for common-sense changes receives widespread support
Nov. 16, 2018 (ACP) – A new policy paper from the American College of Physicians has been getting major attention on social media and in mainstream media outlets. On Nov. 7, the National Rifle Association (NRA) tweeted a link to an article on their website opposing ACP's recently updated policy on firearms safety, Reducing Firearms Injury and Death in the U.S., published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. In their tweet the NRA told physicians, “Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane.” ACP and Annals immediately responded directly to the NRA's tweet, asserting that physicians engaging in advocacy to reduce injuries and deaths from firearms, like any other public health risk, is precisely in their lane. The College followed up with a comprehensive social and earned media effort to get the message out to the public and the profession. Reaction on Twitter was swift and was overwhelmingly in support of ACP's policy, with physicians declaring, “This is our lane!”
Only hours after the NRA's tweet, yet another mass shooting took place. This time the shooting occurred in Thousand Oaks, California, when 12 people were killed at the Borderline Bar and Grill.
ACP members and other physicians and healthcare professionals roundly rejected the idea that firearms-related injuries and deaths were not their area of concern. The hashtag #ThisIsOurLane is being used to tag tweets where physicians call attention to the impact of firearms violence on their patients.
The conversation is also receiving a considerable amount of attention in mainstream media outlets including NPR, USA Today, CNN, New York Times and many others which have covered the Twitter controversy. The Washington Post ran an editorial citing ACP's recommendations and calling on policymakers to “Follow the Doctors' Orders on Gun Violence.” The Annals of Internal Medicine publishing of the ACP policy paper now ranks as one of the top 5 percent of all research outputs scored by Altmetric, a ranking of citations and references to a piece of research. And nearly 1,000 additional physicians have signed a pledge on the Annals of Internal Medicine website, formally committing to talking to their patients about guns whenever risk factors are present.
ACP's paper, Reducing Firearms Injury and Death in the U.S. is available on the Annals of Internal Medicine website. Make your voice heard, and join the conversation on social media using #ThisIsOurLane, and tag @ACPinternists and @AnnalsofIM.