Building Relationships • Developing Leaders • Acting for Justice

My Name is Meta Levin and I live in Highland Park, Illinois. As most of you know, On the Fourth of July my community became a member of a club to which we never applied. When we heard the gunshots, my husband recognized the sound. Three young men on bicycles sped past us. My husband, who normally is laid back, began hurrying me in the direction of home, two blocks from the shooting, all the while pointing out places we could go if the shooter came toward us. Families with children began running, shouting to stay away from the parade.

You’ve most likely heard or read many stories of that day. Police and emergency vehicles from all over flooded our normally quiet community. Local and national news covered it for days. They descended on us, as did every politician imaginable. Nothing wrong with that, but, as it turns out, that same weekend fifteen people were killed from gunfire and another sixty were injured in Chicago. I don’t even know how many were killed or injured in under-resourced places in Lake County.

I do not come lately to this issue. Through my synagogue and Lake County United, as well as the National Gun Safety Consortium, we have confronted gun manufacturers and conscripted local law enforcement to test safety devices. We meet regularly with the Lake County States Attorney, presented to the Lake County Chiefs of Police Association, met with our congressman, our state senator and our state representative. All of this before the shooting in Highland Park.

I have hope that we can solve this problem, because we are acting based on a well-researched understanding of the power of the gun manufacturers and law enforcement. Local, state and federal law enforcement and the military buy 40 percent of the guns in the United States. Imagine if the next time the US Army gives a gun manufacturer a multi-billion-dollar contract, it’s done on the condition that the company stop marketing and selling AR 15s to civilians. What if law enforcement does the same? I have hope that leveraging that buying power will make a difference. We can do this.