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On a crisp Friday morning last December, children filed into schools across America. Like many of us here at Penn, they probably thought that day would be just like any other — a day of preparing for exams and anticipating the holiday break.

But that day was not to be like any other. It was instead a day that would be forever seared into the minds of people throughout the nation, a day that saw the violent murders of 26 people, a day that President Obama termed the darkest of his presidency.

Yet as we gathered together and mourned this senseless loss, we hoped that this would be the final such day. Surely such a shocking display of the tragic power of military-grade weaponry would finally force our political leaders to enact sensible and meaningful gun control legislation.

However, tragedy has yet again failed to inspire legislative action. Congress has now had over four months to act, and it has abandoned its responsibility. A total of 3,436 Americans have been killed as a result of gun violence since that December day. We can do nothing to restore the lives of those we have lost. What we can do, however, is demand legislation to reduce the number of families that will experience these horrors in the future.

Penn Democrats asks the Penn community to join us in demanding sensible and meaningful gun control legislation. We are specifically advocating for three common-sense reforms that will reduce the number of gun homicides in this country.

The first is universal background checks for all gun purchases. By closing the “gun-show loophole,” which allows private purchasers of guns to evade scrutiny, this provision will help ensure that only authorized citizens obtain firearms.

The second necessary provision is a limitation on the size of ammunition clips. There is simply no defensible reason why any civilian would need upwards of 20 bullets. Such magazines have only one purpose: to fire multiple bullets in a very short period. A hunter does not need such a capability nor does someone who carries a firearm for self-defense. Reducing magazine clip size reduces a shooter’s capacity for murder.

The final component of sensible and meaningful gun control legislation is the reinstitution of the ban on military-style assault weapons. Militaries design such weapons with one purpose in mind: the ability to kill people quickly and efficiently.

These reforms are common-sense approaches that will reduce the appalling number of American gun homicides. Yet it is clear that despite the horror of Sandy Hook, Congress will not act until we speak up. Penn Democrats asks you to join us this week for a University-wide “Gun Control Action Week.” Every day this week, we will host events designed to educate the Penn community and put tangible pressure on elected officials.

This afternoon from 3 to 5 p.m. in Houston Hall’s Bishop White Room, we will be calling congressional offices who have not yet supported comprehensive gun control to demand action. On Tuesday, campus will be covered in green ribbons and important facts about gun violence. On Wednesday, we will have a display on College Green in honor of the victims of gun violence. That evening, all members of the university community are encouraged to join us for a University forum on gun violence featuring Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and First Assistant District Attorney Ed McCann at 6:30 p.m. in the Hall of Flags. Following the panel, there will be a campus-wide vigil on College Green to honor victims of gun violence. Throughout the week, we will be on Locust Walk urging students to sign a petition demanding action. On Friday, we will deliver thousands of these petitions to the offices of our U.S. representatives and senators as a show of our community’s desire for action on gun control. For more information on any of these events and to find out how you can get involved, please visit

While no gun control policy can ever prevent all gun violence, we must do everything we can to end the culture of gun violence. In all, 3,436 Americans have perished in the short time since Sandy Hook. Penn Democrats urges you to join us in demanding congressional action. Together, we can accomplish this.

As the largest campus political organization at the University of Pennsylvania, Penn Democrats engages in political campaigns, organizes on-campus events and participates in issue-based activism.

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