"Something is wrong in this country when a child can grab a gun so easily and shoot a bullet into the middle of a child's face, as my son experienced.

For my family, these past few says have represented a flash flood. That is, we witnessed a momentary, horrific flash of hatred and violence. It has been followed by an amazing flood of tears, prayers, calls, cards, visits and countless expressions of sympathy and love. Now the question is whether the floodwaters can be channeled into something meaningful, or whether they'll be followed by another flash flood in another unsuspecting community.

My family knows that Daniel is in a better place. Still, we feel a great emptiness and miss our son's physical presence. We do not wish to see more parents and communities suffer as we've suffered in Columbine, Paducah, Jonesboro, Pearl and Springfield. It could happen again if Americans don't take bold action right now.

Americans must face the fact that we have by far the largest per capita rate of gun ownership in the free world. The number of people killed by guns is immensely higher than that of the free world. This is no coincidence. Any reasonable person understands there is a connection. We've seen a dangerous proliferation of guns in this country, yet we are all now told the solution is concealed weapons.

The NRA deserves credit as a promoter of gun safety and representative of hunters. But it and other gun organizations deserve our condemnation for their relentless promotion of all types of guns regardless of their dangerousness.

Clark Howard/Scripps Howard
News Service

Tom Mauser, father of slain 
Columbine High School
student Daniel Mauser, sits
Wednesday (June 13, 2001)
in the driveway of the
National Rifle Association
headquarters in Fairfax
County, Va. He was arrested
for refusing to leave.

For years the NRA has told us that if we just locked up our criminals, we'd be safe. Well, we've built thousands more jail cells and locked people up, but the killing goes on. My son was not killed by criminals; they only became criminals once they pulled the triggers. The NRA's prison cells haven't solved the problem. In fact, it seems it's now us who are locked up - in fear.
Daniel Mauser
Age 15
Killed by Gunfire
Columbine High School
April 20, 1999
Just a few weeks before he was killed, Daniel mentioned to me that the Brady law had loopholes. For example, he told me how private sales go through no background checks. How ironic that my son was apparently killed by a gun sold at a gun show by an unlicensed dealer not covered by the Brady law. You will hear the NRA complain about the number of existing gun-control laws and their ineffectiveness. But keep in mind it's often they who supported those loopholes.

Let's not forget these slain children. Reduce the obsession with the killers and celebrate the lives, lost hopes and dreams of the slain children.

Now is the time for all of us to stand up and take action, in the name of our Creator and in the name of these slain children. It took too many years to get the Brady law. Let's move faster this time to develop responses to the Columbine killings - not just laws, but behaviors, commitments and personal actions.

Tom Mauser
Father of Slain Columbine Student, Daniel Mauser
At a Denver Rally Against Gun Violence
May 1, 1999