His comments came a few days after the police found that the gunman, Christopher Harper-Mercer, owned at least 13 weapons, all of which were legally purchased. Six of those weapons were found on Harper-Mercer’s body, the rest—two pistols, four rifles and a shotgun—were found later in his apartment.
“How was he able to compile that kind of arsenal?” the shooter’s father, Ian Mercer, asked during an interview with CNN. He said that he had no idea that his son owned such a large collection of weapons. This despite the fact that neighbors remember his son as a gun enthusiast who enjoyed going to shooting ranges with his mother. The New York Times reports:
“Mr. Harper-Mercer’s parents divorced a decade ago, and he had lived with his mother. The father said he had not seen his son since he and his mother, Laurel Harper, moved to Oregon about two years ago, but said there was no ‘disharmony or any bitterness’ between him and his son.”
According to a report from Vocativ, the shooter’s mother was an active proponent of Oregon’s open-carry laws. In a Facebook post from 2014, Harper indicated that those laws were one of the reasons she relocated to Oregon:
“It’s ridiculously easy to understand the apprehension associated with open carry. I moved from So. Calif. to Oregon, from Southern Crime-a-mania to open carry. An open carry law won’t work everywhere. And when the mood strikes, and as long as we’re tossing around brand names, I sling an AR, Tek-9 or AK over my shoulder, or holster a Glock 21 (not 22), or one of my other handguns, like the Sig Sauer P226, and walk out the door. I find the shotguns are a little too cumbersome to open carry.”
Ian Mercer declined to comment on his son’s mental health but ended his interview by saying:
“It has to change. How can it not? Even people that believe in the right to bear arms, what right do you have to take people’s lives? That’s what guns are, the killers. Simple as that. Simple as that. It’s black and white. What do you want a gun for?”
Image via AP.