Aurora shooting: Tom Mauser, Columbine father, on gun control, political silence

Holmes only had a single traffic violation on his record, but even if he had more of a criminal record, that wouldn't have stopped him from purchasing guns, Mauser notes. "If someone said, "I think this guy is dangerous,' we still couldn't stop that, because we have the bar set so high."

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Sam Levin
Aurora vigil.
"The loss...of lives is not a political issue. It's not a partisan issue. It's a social issue," Mauser says. "It's a social ill that we have right now that we are clearly not dealing with. We have a shameful level of gun violence compared to the rest of the world.... When the rest of the world says we are nuts, they're right. It's crazy."

While Mauser says it's hard to believe that this level of violence would not spark the kinds of debates he would like to see after years advocating for stricter gun control laws, he has come to expect inaction.

"I'm not surprised. You can't be when you follow the stories," he says.

So what will it take for the debate to change?

"There's two primary things: It'll take a really depressing one -- a lot more lives to be lost, because clearly losing...32 people a day isn't prompting us into action," Mauser says, referencing the 2007 rampage at Virgina Tech. "The other thing would be for more people like me -- not just those who lost someone directly -- to get engaged in the issue."

He hopes that someday politicians will fear the anger of folks like him as much as they are afraid of upsetting the gun lobby.

And the gun lobby has done a good job, he says, of making the conversation about fear of lost rights versus basic common sense -- such as, in Mauser's view, the idea that regular folks shouldn't be able to so easily access military weapons that can do as much damage as Holmes did last week.

"The problem is, we've seen all kinds of people commit these terrible crimes in all kinds of locations," he says. "There's a lot of variety. The only common element is the gun."

More from our Aurora Theater Shooting archive: "Aurora theater shooting: Torrence Brown Jr. first to sue over attack"

Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin. E-mail the author at

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Uh, what??  Tens of thousands?  Who's quote is that, exactly?  There are NOT tens of thousands of deaths in this country each year due to gun violence!!  Who's the IDIOT that allows this garbage to get published?!  At least do some homework, or site it as a quote from that moron!  These facts are readily available to you via FBI & DOJ.  There are more alcohol-related deaths in this country each year than gun-related deaths.  Seeing as how readily available cars are, perhaps we should ban automobiles so drunk drivers can't get out on the road!  Blame the responsible party!


Oh, and by the way.....statistically, there are more gun related deaths in the US due to unjustified police shootings than there are from criminal intent.  Do the research!!



The Columbine massacre happened 5 years into a federal ban on "assault weapons". They were not concerned they were using banned weapons, only law abiding citizens were affected by the ban. The ban expired after 10 years in 2004 because it did not reduce availability of those weapons to criminals. I realize people need to blame someone or something, but blaming guns has never reduced violence, it only prevents people who follow the law from possessing weapons criminals have.


If Mauser's child had been killed in an auto accident(still tragic and happens more often) would he be an activist for highway safety???....  

DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Ironic that a large German firearms manufacturer shared his name.



Yes, Mothers Against DRUNK DRIVERS.....not Mothers Against Automobiles!


 @DonkeyHotay MADD has far less to do with highway safety these days as it does with being a neo-prohibitionist organization.

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