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Father of student killed at Columbine hopes gun bill will lead to more action

"You take what you can get for now and you build on it," Tom Mauser said.

LITTLETON, Colo. — One month after the school shooting in Uvalde, Congress passed and President Joe Biden signed the widest-ranging gun violence bill in decades. 

After the Columbine High School shooting, Tom Mauser started lobbying for stronger gun laws with the organization Colorado Ceasefire. His 15-year-old son Daniel Mauser was one of the students killed in the shooting 23 years ago.

Mauser said the new legislation is a win, but more needs to be done before another tragedy.

"You take what you can get for now and you build on it," Mauser said. 

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"Just weeks before the shooting, he asked me a question out of the blue. 'Dad, did you know there were loopholes in the Brady bill?' And two weeks later he was killed with a gun that was purchased by a loophole in the Brady bill," Mauser said. "That drove me to do something about these loopholes.”

Mauser said the new gun bill is a big step forward, but it shouldn't stop here. 

“Doing nothing will not solve this problem. It’s not going to go away. It has gotten worse," he said. "There's clearly more that needs to be done. It's so disappointing that they didn't pass a universal background check bill."

The bill Biden signed over the weekend enhances background checks for people ages 18 to 21, provides money to states for red flag laws and closes the boyfriend loophole, which prevents people convicted of domestic abuse from owning a gun.

"It's a really important part of this," Mauser said. "When we know there are people who are dangerous, we have to do something about it and not just wait for something bad to happen."

He said it's good the bill includes mental health and school safety funding, but he said schools have already tried increasing security. 

"It's as if we're blaming them and saying, 'Well, they need to improve their security.' No, they're looking for our federal government to do more on its end," he said. “We’ve been told by a number of people that if we just had more guns, more guns on the streets and more teachers with guns, we’d be safer. We’ve been headed that way for years now. We’ve tried that and hasn’t worked. We need to do something different."

Mauser said this bill is something to celebrate, but hopes more proactive work can be done instead of waiting for another tragedy to cause change.

"We're going to keep working on it and working on it and working on it," he said. "I do it for Daniel. I do it for Daniel. I'm doing what I think he'd want me to do."

Gun rights groups like the National Rifle Association opposed the legislation. There was support from organizations like the Fraternal Order of Police.

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