Center for American Progress

25 Years After Columbine: A Father’s Journey To Honor His Son and End Gun Violence

25 Years After Columbine: A Father’s Journey To Honor His Son and End Gun Violence

Tom Mauser, father of Columbine High School shooting victim Daniel Mauser and gun safety advocate, shares how his son continues to inspire his fight to end gun violence 25 years after Columbine.

On April 20, 1999, Tom Mauser’s son Daniel died in a shooting at Columbine High School after two students were able to purchase firearms through the  “gun show loophole” and carry out a horrific attack that left 13 dead and another 24 wounded. 

Daniel was 15. He was a Boy Scout and a piano player. He is remembered by his family for being a kind, gentle, and loving son and brother. Daniel was shy and reserved, yet he took on his weaknesses, joining the debate team at Columbine and running cross-country. It was these qualities that gave Tom the courage to protest at the National Rifle Association (NRA) convention in Denver only 10 days after his son was killed in Columbine and inspired his new life as a gun reform advocate. One year later, Tom took a leave of absence from work and became a lobbyist in Colorado, working to reform gun legislation in the state. After the Colorado Legislature failed to take action, Tom helped lead an effort to successfully close the same loophole that allowed for his son’s killers to purchase a firearm at a gun show without a background check.

That’s what really inspired me to continue on this path. Is doing it for him, walking in his shoes. Tom Mauser

Tom’s dedication to ending gun violence has made him a nationally recognized gun reform advocate. In the 25 years since Columbine, Tom has worked tirelessly to build safer schools, fight for stronger gun laws, and raise awareness around gun violence prevention. He continues to honor the memory of his son through his advocacy efforts, website, and memoir, Walking in Daniel’s Shoes: A Father’s Journey Through Grief, Controversy, Activism, and Healing Following His Son’s Death at Columbine

Twenty-five years after Columbine, Tom is still inspired by his son Daniel. In this video, Tom shares how speaking out against the gun lobby and wearing Daniel’s shoes allows Tom to honor his son and keep his memory alive.

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Allison Jordan

Research Associate, Gun Violence Prevention


Matthew Gossage

Events Video Producer

Hai-Lam Phan

Senior Director, Creative

Toni Pandolfo

Video Producer, Production

Andrew Sonntag

Former Events Video Producer


Gun Violence Prevention

Our goal is to reduce gun violence by enacting strong gun laws, increasing investment in local solutions, and growing the movement dedicated to this mission.

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