The fight against gun violence reached the Stanford University campus on Monday afternoon, when about 300 people rallied to establish the growing problem as a public health crisis.
Doctors, nurses, medical students and other medical staff gathered at the Dean's Lawn as the clock struck noon holding signs, a few that read "Doctors demand action!" and "Fewer guns safer children!"
The gathering was one of many across the country organized by Stand Safe (Scrubs Addressing the Firearm Epidemic), an organization founded by Stanford University medical student Sarabeth Spitzer and Dr. Dean Winslow, a professor. The group aims to fund research on gun safety, train doctors to counsel at-risk populations in clinics and hospitals on firearms, and support "evidence-based policy that promotes responsible gun ownership," among other goals.
"As medical students being trained to protect our patients' physical and mental health and wellbeing, we were struck by the lack of medical education available on such a devastating and important issue," Spitzer said in a statement. "With each mass shooting covered in the news, we watched, wondering what we could do to prevent such a loss of life."
Winslow, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, saw the effects assault weapons have on people while he was a flight surgeon in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he served six deployments after 9/11.
"These are weapons designed for the battlefield. Easy access to these same types of weapons in the U.S. has resulted in dozens of horrific mass shootings - and handguns cause the deaths of at least 20 veterans each day by suicide," Winslow said in a statement.
The rally was followed by a panel discussion with faculty members and medical students who discussed how firearms are a public health problem and a "Stop the Bleed" training session.