News & Politics

Oregon Shooter’s Mother Hoarded Guns, Feared Confiscation

Laurel Harper bragged of her gun collection online and favored the open carry laws that allow the carrying of weapons without concealment.

More details have emerged about Chris Harper-Mercer, who went on a shooting spree at a community college in Oregon on Thursday before being killed himself.

His mother, Laurel Harper, has been revealed to be an avid gun collector. At least 14 weapons were found in the apartment shared by mother and son. Laurel Harper reportedly wrote on Facebook about her gun collection, her fears of gun confiscation and her support of open carry laws, which allow citizens to carry weapons without having to conceal them.

“I moved from So. Calif. to Oregon, from South Crime-a-mania to open carry,” she wrote.

A woman who hired Harper as a nurse to care for her teenage son noted, “She said she had multiple guns and believed wholeheartedly in the Second Amendment and wanted to get all the guns she could before someone outlawed them.” 

All of this came as news to the father, who hadn’t seen his ex-wife and son since 2013. “How was he able to compile that kind of arsenal?” Ian Mercer asked. “If [my son] had not been able to get hold of 13 guns, this wouldn’t have happened.”

News reports have pointed to the fact that the 26-year-old Harper-Mercer had mental health issues going back to his teenage years, when he attended a high school for students with learning disabilities and emotional difficulties.


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Zaid Jilani is an AlterNet staff writer. Follow @zaidjilani on Twitter.