- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 25, 2001

The protest of Tom Mauser father of slain Columbine High student Daniel Mauser illustrates the tragedy of the gun control debate. Mr. Mauser, who has been picketing outside of the National Rifle Association's Fairfax headquarters, is acting out of wrenching emotions, not reason. This is certainly understandable. The loss of a child is always tragic more so in the circumstances of a brutal slaying. But this tells us nothing about the value of yet more laws to "control" guns laws that have so far done very little to control criminals who misuse firearms.
Carrying a sign that read, "My son died at Columbine he'd expect me to be here today," Mr. Mauser has already been arrested for trespassing during a previous picket of NRA headquarters. According to The Washington Post, which carried a short article on the lonely vigil, Mr. Mauser accosted an NRA staffer who had come outside to photograph Mr. Mauser for purposes of evidence regarding the trespassing matter. "Do you know what it's like to lose a child?" Mr. Mauser reportedly demanded of the NRA staffer. "To gunshots? Are you not willing to listen about my son?"
It's extremely difficult to reproach a grieving parent who has lost a child to the criminal actions of a pair of psychopaths Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, the two troubled young men responsible for the massacre at Columbine High some two years ago. As with Sarah Brady, whose husband Jim was permanently disabled by the would-be assassin of then-President Ronald Reagan, countering the emotional outpouring is no enviable task.
Still, making the purchase, use and ownership of firearms more cumbersome for law-abiding Americans accomplishes nothing more than the disarming of those least likely to commit a crime of any sort. The evidence shows that the overwhelming majority of crimes committed with guns are committed by people with pre-existing criminal records, most of whom are already precluded from lawful possession of firearms as a result of their previous convictions. New and "tougher" gun-control laws have had no dampening effect whatever on their activities.
Yet Mr. Mauser, Mrs. Brady, and others in the gun-control movement continue to press endlessly for more controls. "It's good for their employees to see this," said Mr. Mauser of his one-man protest. "They see the depth of pain, and they go back to their desks and ask, 'why don't we respond?'"
The reasonable resonse would not be endangering the physical safety of law-abiding people, but assuring that their liberties not be curtailed as a result of the actions of criminals as the NRA has consistently and rightly advocated all along.

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