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Oregon Shooter’s Mom Talked About Family’s Arsenal Of Guns

A post from a Facebook account believed to belong to Laurel Harper, the mother of Chris Harper Mercer, proudly mentions the open carry of several firearms
Oct 02, 2015 at 3:46 PM ET
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A woman who appears to be the mother of the man who authorities say killed nine people at a community college in Oregon on Thursday bragged about the number of guns she owned and argued in favor of open-carry gun laws in chats on social media websites, Vocativ has discovered.

In September of 2014, a woman who appears to be Laurel Harper, the mother of deceased alleged Oregon shooter Chris Harper Mercer, responded to a Facebook comment thread about laws allowing the open carrying of firearms.

“You can’t be that naive, can you? 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,” Harper wrote. But, she continued, “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. ”

The move from California to Oregon described in that comment is consistent with what has been reported about Mercer, who is said to have moved with his mother from Torrance, California, to Oregon in 2013.

On Friday, law enforcement officials in Oregon provided details about the weapons used in the attack and other firearms found in Mercer’s home. According to officials, 13 guns in total were recovered, six from the campus of Umpqua Community College, where the shooting took place, and seven from the apartment Mercer reportedly shared with his mother. Officials said the guns were all traced back to a federal firearms dealer and seven of the weapons had been purchased legally by Harper Mercer or other family members over the last three years.

Calls to a number believed to belong to Laurel Harper on both Thursday and Friday were met with a busy signal.

Mercer and his mother reportedly were very close—the New York Times quoted a former neighbor of the family as saying the two were “always together.” Another neighbor told the publication that, after cockroaches were found in their apartment building, Harper said to the neighbor that, “my son is dealing with some mental issues, and the roaches are really irritating him.”