Commentary: We must defeat gun violence

Did you know that there have been more than 551 deaths due to gun-related violence so far in the United States this year? The digital Gun Violence Archive has recorded many deaths, and there had only been 36 days of 2020 when I did my research.

The percentage of gun-related deaths in the U.S. is rising dramatically, year after year. This shows that we need harsher restrictions on the buying, selling and use of guns.

One of the commandments is “thou shall not kill.” Our religions teach peace, yet we kill one another, and for what? So people can feel like they have power? For no reason, just a mistake?

I want us all to spread the word about how gun violence has killed our families and our dreams, and yet we, the American people, are the ones producing weapons that cause mass destruction through high death counts.

Is the “freedom” our Second Amendment gives citizens worth the cost? To protect ourselves? Many citizens don’t even use the weapons they own. Yet, people think the guns they own protect them from violence and predators.

Even if you own a weapon for good, they are deadly and have the potential to do evil. Is everyone in your house trained? Is the gun locked up? Loaded? For the most part, the news shows us guns do not protect us. Every year, in the surrounding areas of Milwaukee, people are using guns to kill other people. The right to own and use a gun is helping us kill each other. Do we want our future generations to have both parents, play at the park without fear, or feel safe in the inner city?

Everytown for Gun Safety is one of many organizations informing people about how gun violence affects society. They explain how this problem has many effects on society and relationships, but there has been no clear solution yet. Gun violence has left us guarded and scared. When people hear the harsh statistics and become informed, they become even more stressed and never know a feeling of safety. I want you to be a part of the solution and fight for stricter laws and more aggressive background checks. Because one day you could be touched by loss through gun violence. Do you want to be a part of this solution? Will you help save precious lives?

In Wisconsin, there are about 529 deaths a year. And 71% of Wisconsin deaths are suicides, preventable with stricter laws that address mental illness screening for gun ownership. What if someone you cared for was shot or committed suicide? What will you do to help them? Please help fight for stricter gun laws.

Joseph Antonoff is a student at Milwaukee Jewish Day School.