Almost a year after the Newtown, Connecticut, elementary schoolhouse shootings that claimed the lives of 20 first-graders and six educators, and 14 years after the massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado that claimed a dozen teenagers’ lives — the father of a Columbine victim is reaching out for support for a renewed appeal to Congress.
Organizing for Action, the president’s post-campaign issues-driven organization, is making an e-mailed appeal in support of President Barack Obama, whose administration failed to win anything from Congress following the Newtown shootings — the Senate rejected a bill expanding background checks for gun-buyers, opposed largely by Republican senators and also a handful of Democrats.
“My son, Daniel, was a smart, quiet kid,” his father, Tom Mauser, of Littleton, Colorado, writes in the OFA appeal. “He’d just become a straight-A student, and he was overcoming his shyness as a new member of the debate team. On April 20th, 1999, my beautiful and bright 15-year-old son was killed by two teenagers with guns in the library of Columbine High School — one of 12 innocent kids who lost their lives for no reason at all.
“It’s been 14 years since that horrible day — 14 years of fighting so no family has to grieve like ours did,” he writes. “These tragedies keep happening, and so far, Congress has failed to take common-sense action to stop them — even though nine in 10 Americans have agreed that expanding background checks would help close the loopholes that put guns in the hands of dangerous people and prevent future violence.
“Since Daniel’s death, I’ve found a way to honor him: by trying to prevent other families from feeling this pain. I’ve advocated locally and nationally for smarter gun laws — even helping achieve a statewide ballot victory here in Colorado,” his father writes. “In December, when I heard about the shooting in Newtown, I sat in my office and broke down. I was watching another community torn apart by guns — more parents grieving, more kids who would never see graduation, or a wedding, or a family of their own. ”
“And in the wake of another tragedy, nine in 10 Americans agreed that it was time to act — expand background checks to close the loopholes that put guns in the hands of dangerous people. But Congress disappointed us, putting politics above the safety of our kids. That’s why this week, we’re asking: How many parents will have to go through what I did before we say “enough”?