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IRVINE : Medical Students Fire Volley at Gun Maker

November 10, 1994|RUSS LOAR

Fourteen students at UC Irvine's College of Medicine fell to the pavement, one by one, during the busy lunch hour on campus Wednesday in a demonstration against handguns.

It was the second demonstration in two months aimed by the campus chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility at Bryco Arms Inc. Bryco, located in Irvine and Costa Mesa, is the leading U.S. manufacturer of handguns known as "Saturday night specials," producing more than 200,000 a year, according to the Violence Policy Center in Washington.

"Bryco is not Tyco--Guns are not Toys," read one of the posters held by second-year medical students dressed in white lab coats. Each student was "shot" in turn with an orange cap pistol, while other students read news accounts of handgun accidents, violence and murder.

Bryco representatives in Irvine and Costa Mesa could not be reached for comment.

"We consider guns in the same way we consider virus and bacteria," demonstrator Scott Weissman told about 30 students gathered outside the campus cafe. "They're all agents of disease and death."

But not all students were convinced that banning handguns is the answer.

"How is it that going to curtail the proliferation of handguns on the black market?" asked Justin Bristol, 22, president of Chi Alpha, a campus Christian fellowship group.

Dr. Robert C. Wesley Jr., medical school assistant dean who is co-president of the Los Angeles chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility and adviser to the UCI campus chapter, said lax gun laws should be of special concern to students.

"There are more years of potential life lost from gun violence than from cancer, heart disease and diabetes combined," he said, "because most of the victims are so youthful."

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