Emerson President Lee Pelton stood with Mayors Against Illegal Guns and more than 25 college presidents in Washington, D.C., on February 4 to publicly ask lawmakers to take action to end the gun violence epidemic that kills 33 Americans daily.
The group is asking for common sense gun reform that would require every gun buyer to pass a criminal background check, ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and make gun trafficking a federal crime.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke at the event, according to the Washington Times.
Since its inception in 2006, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has grown from 15 mayors to 850 mayors across the country. It is a bipartisan coalition co-chaired by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Pelton’s presence at the February 4 press conference comes on the same day that Emerson College kicks off its gun violence discussion panel series, Made in America: Our Gun Violence Culture.
Emily Rooney, host of Greater Boston on WGBH-TV, will moderate the first panel discussion, titled “Whose Right Is It Anyway?” on Monday, February 4, at 6:30 pm in the Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre at Emerson’s Paramount Center in Boston.
Participating in the panel are John Rosenthal, founder of Stop Handgun Violence; Jack McDevitt, associate dean for Northeastern University’s College of Criminal Justice; Richard Feldman, firearm rights activist and former regional political director of the National Rifle Association; and Steve Moysey, director of the Gun Owners’ Action League.
Shortly after the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting in December, Pelton began an initiative to further discussions about America’s culture of gun violence at higher educational institutions around the country. To date, 273 college presidents have joined Pelton in a pledge to lead campus discussions on how to best address the issue and in offering President Obama any assistance he may need.
Pelton also established the College Presidents’ Gun Violence Resource Center, an online forum that empowers college presidents to post information about their campus events relating to leading discussions on gun violence; enables signatories to view all posted campus initiatives; provides links to speakers, gun research centers, news, and information that will help college presidents design, plan, and facilitate campus initiatives; and offers a place where signatories can communicate with one another in confidence on topics of interest.