The father of the Oregon community college shooter said Saturday that he "had no idea that he had any guns whatsoever" and called for more restrictions as he questioned how his 26-year-old son obtained as many as 13 firearms.
"How on Earth could he compile 13 guns? How can that happen?" asked Ian Mercer, the father of Christopher Harper-Mercer, who killed nine people and injured nine others in the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg.
He was interviewed by CNN outside his home in Torrance
, Calif. Mercer said that his son lived with his mother, and that they last visited a few days before Harper-Mercer left for college.
"They talk about gun control. Every time something like this happens, they talk about it and nothing is done. I'm not trying to say that's to blame for what happened, but had Chris not been able to get a hold of 13 guns, it wouldn't have happened."
Harper-Mercer, who was a student at Umpqua, barged into a classroom Thursday shortly after 10:30 a.m., eventually killing his English teacher and eight students and injuring nine others.
He had asked the students to stand up and disclose their religion. If they said they were Christian, he fired.
Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said Saturday that the county medical examiner had ruled that Harper-Mercer killed himself as police officers arrived.
Hanlin also disclosed that shooter had a total of 14 guns, police found eight in his home, and six Harper-Mercer took to the college.
Authorities said Friday that he had 13 guns. The weapons were purchased legally.
Ian Mercer told CNN that there wasn't "any kind of disharmony or any bitterness or anything like that between him and I."
He declined to discuss his son's mental state — "I'm going to let the police follow through with their investigations," he said — but Mercer wondered how his son amassed so many weapons.
"Look all over the world, you don't see these kind of mass shootings all over the world on a consistent basis like you do in the United States, so somebody has to ask the question, 'How is it so easy to get all these guns?'
"How is it so easy? 13 guns. I've never held a gun in my life. I never want to," Mercer said. "I know there are people that do. But you have to ask that question, how was he able to compile that kind of arsenal?"
He called himself "a great believer that you don't buy guns" and called for stronger controls on firearms ownership.
"It has to change. It has to change. How can it not?" Mercer asked CNN. "Even people who believe in the right to bear arms, what right do you have to take people's lives?
"That's what guns are: killers, simple as that. Simple as that.
"It's black and white," he added. "What do you want the gun for?"
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