By Elise Viebeck - 06/03/14 04:31 PM EDT
Gun control advocates are urging the Senate to confirm President Obama's nominee for surgeon general amid opposition from the National Rifle Association.
A coalition of groups rallied Tuesday on Capitol Hill in support of Vivek Murthy, a Yale-educated doctor whose support for gun control has made him a target of the NRA.
"Guns are the second leading cause of death in the U.S. among children ages 1 to 19, tragically taking 10,000 young lives annually,” said Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, executive director and CEO of MomsRising, in a statement.
"To try and bar this eminently qualified doctor from serving as the nation’s foremost champion of public health for expressing a view on gun safety that is held by the entire medical establishment is nothing short of ridiculous."
Murthy sees gun violence as a public health problem but told lawmakers the issue would not be his focus as surgeon general.
Observers believe his nomination will remain stalled for the foreseeable future. Senate Democrats are unlikely to pick a fight with the NRA in an election year by forcing their red-state colleagues into an uncomfortable vote.
Other groups that rallied Tuesday included MoveOn, CREDO and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, which joined with 50 unaffiliated moms and children to deliver literature on Capitol Hill.
The children were dressed in doctor's scrubs to reinforce the group's message, according to a press memo.