- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A Colorado man who says he was “almost a school shooter” in 1996 appeared on MSNBC Tuesday in support of stricter gun control laws.

MSNBC Live” host Katy Tur hosted Aaron Stark on her show in response to the horrific mass school shooting last week in Parkland, Florida, that claimed 17 lives.

Mr. Stark said it was the 1994 federal assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004, that stopped him from carrying out a mass shooting when he was a suicidal teenager in high school.

“I think we really need to have a hard look at the effect that guns have,” he said, according to a clip flagged by the Washington Free Beacon. “Do we really need to have assault weapons? Do we really need to have people being able to go buy an AR-15 when they’re not able to even buy a pistol because they won’t pass the background checks?

“But the thing about my post was, it’s more than just guns,” he added. “It’s a multi-faceted issue. And if you focus on just the guns, then you’ll ignore the rest, but if you focus on just the mental health, then you’ll have missed the gun part, also.”

Mr. Stark penned an open letter this week, published by a local news station, that confessed he was “almost a school shooter.”

“I was picked on and bullied. For being fat. For being smart. For not playing sports,” Mr. Stark wrote. “So I got angry, and I started hiding weapons around anywhere I hung out at frequently. I had hidden around me knives, sticks, shanks, brass knuckles, whatever. I always kept one in arms reach. … People say mental health is the issue. And that’s true.

“A bigger issue was love. I had a severe lack of love, and I really think this kid did too,” he said, referencing Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old accused of fatally shooting 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Wednesday. “Some people blame this violence on the media, or video games, or music. We call those people morons. But there is one thing that would have made it all different. One thing, that if it was in the equation, would have ended up in terror. I didn’t have access to an assault rifle.

“I am not a school shooter because I didn’t have access to guns,” Mr. Stark declared.

Mr. Stark said on MSNBC that he hit a turning point in his young life when a friend made him a pie and invited him to her house for a party.

“When you’re in the worst state and you think that no one cares, having someone actually care can make an entire world of difference,” he said.

Ms. Tur ended the segment by telling Mr. Stark, “You’re worth it, you were worth it, and you’re proving that you’re worth it right now by coming on and sharing your story. We appreciate it.”

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