Transcript: Press briefing remarks by Tom Mauser, father of Columbine shooting victim

Edited by Jenny Jiang

Transcript of remarks by Tom Mauser, father of 15-year-old Daniel Mauser who was killed at Columbine High School in 1999, at a press conference organized by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence outside Capitol Hill on Dec. 18, 2012: 

I am here today wearing my son’s shoes. They’re the shoes that he was wearing on April 20, 1999 when he was gunned down at Columbine High School.

It’s amazing we have the same sized shoes. So I would wear them because he was a member of the debate team at Columbine High School so I now wear his shoes in this great debate. And it’s a debate that we need to have in this country.

We’ve had that debate in year 2000 – the year after Columbine.

Legislators refused to close the gun show loophole in Colorado. So we took it to the vote of the people, and the people closed that gun show loophole by a vote of 70% to 30%. That same night in Oregon, they closed it 60% to 40%.

So Americans will step up when their elected officials don’t and vote for reasonable gun laws.

But we can’t put every measure – we can’t put every measure – before a vote. We have to be able to count on our elected officials to do that for us as we are doing here today.

You know, it’d be easy to be discouraged – for me to be discouraged after 13 years of this activity. Easy to be discouraged. But I can’t be. Because I have hope – because these people have hope also – that we can do something to change it.

These people are here before you because they refuse to be statistics. They want to be the stories – the stories of ordinary Americans who’ve been through hell and back, and they don’t want it to happen to the rest of you. They’re ordinary people who were thrown into an extraordinary tragedy. They didn’t ask to be thrown into that.

Like so many others that Dan mentioned, it happens to so many people.

We are not here to ask for your pity. We’re asking to share our stories with you because these stories could be your stories. It could be any one of you. It could be your story.

The people here today are people who have not given up hope despite the terrible tragedy that has befallen them. They still have hope and they refuse to listen and to accept that message of hopelessness that we have been hearing so often in America.

“Well, there’s just nothing you can do about this.”

“There’s always going to be lunatics.”

“You can’t keep guns away from criminals.”

We refuse to accept that hopelessness. That’s not what America is about. That’s not the America that I grew up in. It’s one where we can have hope and change. So we’re not going to accept those excuses like we have in the past.

The folks here today are here to ask for that conversation. We need to have a conversation because we know this silence and inaction can be deadly. And in fact, it has been.

Like most Americans, we’re saying that enough is enough. We are better than this. It’s time to talk and time to act.

Thank you.

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3 Comments on “Transcript: Press briefing remarks by Tom Mauser, father of Columbine shooting victim

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