The mother of the Oregon gunman responsible for killing nine students in a college classroom last Thursday shared her son’s obsession with guns, praising her love for the deadly weapon online.
Laurel Harper frequently bragged online about the numerous guns she kept in her home and her advanced knowledge about them, according to the New York Times. She not only prided herself on her expertise but her son’s — Chris Harper-Mercer — proficiency as well, pointing to him as her source of information on gun laws. The two often went to shooting ranges together.
She even went as far as to chastise strict gun laws, calling out states that limit the number of loaded firearms in a home as “lame” in an online forum for Yahoo Answers. She proudly added she had AR-15 and AK-47 semiautomatic rifles and a Glock handgun stored in her house.
“No one will be ‘dropping’ by my house uninvited without acknowledgement,” she wrote.
Parents are often influential figures to their impressionable children and Mercer’s struggles with his social life and mental health could have made him even more vulnerable to his mother’s rants and raves. Mercer’s obsession with guns certainly traces back to his mother’s own radical fixation.
Harper’s ultra-conservative, pro-gun rhetoric became the forefront of her son’s consciousness, and ultimately his accessibility and this adamant gun-rights agenda is what led to a weapon being in the wrong hands.
Study after study suggests a gun in the home has adverse effects on families — making them become more of the victim than the defense. Yet what Harper’s pro-firearms attitude also conveys is that guns in the home not only result in more gun-related deaths inside closed doors, but outside, on college campuses, as well.