Join us on June 7-9th for Wear Orange, as we unite in our call to end gun violence and honor the more than 120 people who are shot and killed, and hundreds more who are wounded and traumatized, every day in our country. Read some of the stories of those affected by gun violence below.

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Laura Abbasi

In memory of Jeffrey R. Banish

My only brother Jeffrey R. Banish died by suicide with a gun on March 9, 2003, when he was just 21 years old.

Suicides account for two-thirds of all gun deaths. Many people think suicides are unavoidable tragedies, but that’s not true. Suicides are intimately linked with the availability of guns and when my brother experienced his first real heartbreak, access to a gun was the difference between life and death.

It is still hard to fathom, all these years later, how someone with so much life could die this way.
Jeffrey was fun-loving, popular and even served on the homecoming court with his high school sweetheart. He was an avid athlete — he loved football, track and field, and just about every sport. We grew up in rural Michigan, on Lake Huron, and Jeffrey was an excellent sailor. 

Jeffrey loved the outdoors. He went fishing and hunting. He used bows as well as rifles to hunt deer. It wasn’t uncommon for my brother to walk out of the house with a gun – to go hunting with his friends. But there is a time and a place for guns. And when my brother experienced his first real heartbreak, access to a gun was the difference between fleeting impulsive thoughts and an irreversible fatal mistake.

I am committed to doing my part to change gun safety laws and raise awareness about gun violence prevention for Jeffrey and the hundreds of people who are killed or injured by guns every year.  I share my story with the hope that others don’t have to have to experience what my family has been through. We don’t have to live and die this way.

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