By now, everyone has probably read horrific reports about Chris Harper-Mercer’s staged attack at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The shooting, which took place on Thursday October 1, resulted in nine fatalities – Lucero Alcaraz, 19; Treven Taylor Anspach, 20; Rebecka Ann Carnes, 18; Quinn Glen Cooper, 18; Kim Saltmarsh Dietz, 59; Lucas Eibel, 18; Jason Dale Johnson, 34; Lawrence Levine, 67; and Sarena Dawn Moore, 44 – and left nine others injured.
After exchanging shots with officers, Mercer reportedly turned the gun on himself, reports CNN. Medical examiners have determined that Mercer’s death was a result of suicide. Shortly after the horrific incident took place, the gunman’s father, Ian Mercer, released a statement on behalf of the family, addressing the victims’ families.
“I know words cannot bring families back. I know there’s nothing that I can say that can change what happened,” Ian Mercer said while standing outside his home in California. “But please believe me, my thoughts are with all of those families and I hope they can get through this.”
Ian Mercer also included a brief statement about the guns his son had in his possession. According to Huffington Post, several news outlets initially reported that Mercer had a total of 13 firearms, but the latest reports have revealed that local authorities actually found 14 firearms that reportedly belonged to him. Mercer’s father had made it clear that he was unaware his son owned one gun, let alone 14. “I had no idea he had any guns. I have no idea that he had any guns whatsoever,” Mercer said. “And I’m a great believer you don’t buy guns, don’t buy guns, you don’t buy guns.”
However, that’s not all the 26-year-old’s father has to say about guns. According to CNN, Ian Mercer’s recent statement touches on the gun control laws currently in place. While he’s not belittling his son’s actions, he does believe gun control is partly to blame.
If stricter gun control laws were in place, Ian Mercer believes that may have prevented his son from having access to so many firearms, which may have ultimately prevented the shooting. He went on to target gun owners, questioning why they need to guns. Mercer has also ruffled the feathers of gun owners insisting the only purpose of gun ownership would be to take a person’s life.
“We talk about gun laws. We talk about gun control. 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,” the father said.”
“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?”
When Ian Mercer was asked to shed light on his son’s alleged mental state, he reportedly declined to personally address the situation. However, he did offer a generalized statement by insisting that only a person with a mental ailment could take nine innocent lives.
"How come you didn't raise him to be a man?" Oregon shooter's father: 'How did he compile such an arsenal?' http://t.co/NabqqH77Vl— Gramps the Nativist (@TheStowBilly) October 5, 2015
But, regardless of the gunman’s mental state at the time of the shooting, his father’s statements have sparked quite a debate. Gun laws are being questioned yet again, and avid gun supporters aren’t pleased with Mercer’s remarks.
Oregon Shooter’s Father Absolves Son: Guns, Not His Parenting to Blame http://t.co/1rzUT4aN8P— BreitbartTexas (@BreitbartTexas) October 4, 2015
Social media users have taken to Twitter arguing that Ian Mercer blatantly disregarded the positive uses of guns. However, individuals aren’t the only ones condemning Mercer. Several news outlets have also slammed Mercer for blaming guns for his son’s actions, according to Breitbart.
Here are some of the tweets:
@HuffingtonPost Um, wrong question. He should be asking why his son killed people.— Gyorgi (@TweetGyorgi) October 4, 2015
@larryelder that man should have nothing to say after his scum bag son murdered and targeted Christians.— Reaganette (@Ezinger44) October 5, 2015
Do you agree or disagree with Ian Mercer? Are guns to blame for the Oregon shooter’s actions? Share your thoughts.
[Image via Twitter]