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Doctor who treated pediatric Highland Park shooting patients goes to Washington to call for assault weapons ban

Doctor who treated Highland Park parade victims wants gun reform
Doctor who treated Highland Park parade victims wants gun reform 02:12

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (CBS) -- A suburban emergency room physician who treated the youngest victims wounded in the Highland Park July 4th parade massacre was one of about 60 physicians from around the country in Washington, D.C. Tuesday advocating for a federal assault rifle ban.

CBS 2's Charlie De Mar spoke Tuesday with Dr. Sheena McKenzie.

"It's a trauma that sits with me every day," Dr. McKenzie said. "There's something that happens every single day that reminds me of that day; that reminds me of the patients."

Dr. McKenzie is now trying to turn her trauma into change. 

"I treated the pediatric victims from the July 4th shooting in Highland Park," she said.

What Dr. McKenzie saw in the ER while treating children who were injured during the Highland Park parade shooting has led her from the operating room to Capitol Hill.

On Tuesday, Dr. McKenzie joined about 60 physicians from around the country calling on lawmakers to federally ban assault rifles.

"They totally obliterate tissue. You know I saw things that day, I just never expected to see," she said. "It's almost a no-brainer, you know? We need to get our lawmakers to take drastic action to get the change that we need to protect our children."

De Mar asked McKenzie if she was surprised with the resistance with which she has been met.

"You know, to be frank? Yes," she said.

Joining the physicians on Capitol Hill Tuesday night were those who have lost loved ones in the Uvalde, Texas mass shooting. They held a silent protest near the Capitol to draw attention to what they call Senate's inaction to prevent mass shootings. 

As for Dr. McKenzie, she says that she will continue to use her platform as a physician to demand meaningful gun reform. 

"You know, my life is now kind of defined as before that day, and after that day," she said. "I felt very helpless. It almost felt natural to turn towards advocacy."

At the state level, Illinois House Democrats have introduced a massive gun control bill that would outlaw the sale of assault weapons and prevent most residents under 21 from legally buying a gun.

Dr. McKenzie calls the state action progress, and a good first step – but says she won't stop until there is a federal ban.

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