- The Washington Times - Monday, October 5, 2015

The father of Oregon gunman Christopher Harper-Mercer argued Saturday that his son never would have killed nine people last week at Umpqua Community College if he wasn’t able to get his hands on a gun in the first place.

“How on earth could he compile 13 guns? How could that happen?” Ian Mercer asked in an interview outside his California home Saturday, CNN reported.

The father said he had no idea how his 26-year-old son, who fatally shot himself Thursday after a gunfight with police, managed to stockpile an arsenal in the apartment he shared with his mother. Harper-Mercer was packing six weapons, which were purchased legally, five extra magazines of ammo and a steel plate-fitting flak jacket when he murdered nine people and wounded nine more at the Roseburg campus.

“We talk about gun laws. We talk about gun control,” the father told CNN. “Every time something like this happens, they talk about it and nothing gets done. I’m not trying to say that that’s to blame for what happened, but if Chris had not been able to get hold of 13 guns, this wouldn’t have happened.”

Mr. Mercer said he has never held a gun and doesn’t want to.



“I’m a great believer [in], you don’t buy guns, don’t buy guns, you don’t buy guns,” he said.

His condemnation of guns grew stronger as the interview went on, CNN reported, and Mr. Mercer closed his remarks on the subject with a call for change.

“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?”

Mr. Mercer declined to comment on his son’s mental state prior to the shooting.

“Obviously, somebody who goes and kills nine people has to have some kind of issue. Whatever it is, let the police determine what they find,” he said.

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