How Did The Umpqua College Suspect Get a Gun?

by Suzanne Samin

Update: On Friday, it was confirmed that there were nine victim fatalities and that Mercer killed himself after Thursday's mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. On Saturday, there were reports that Mercer handed out a box to a fellow classmate that possibly contained his final note. The note that Mercer left detailed his depression and loneliness. In an interview with CNN on Saturday, Mercer's father wondered how his estranged son was able to obtain 13 guns. Mercer was a student at the college and was enrolled in the writing class where he opened fire. He previously attended a school for mentally unstable children and was briefly enrolled in the U.S. Army in 2008, before he was kicked out a month in for not demonstrating the basic administrative standards required to serve. All of his guns were purchased legally.

ABC reports that the weapons Mercer had were a: 9mm Glock handgun, a .40 S&W Smith & Wesson handgun, three other handguns, and a Del-Ton 5.56×45mm rifle.

The victims' names were released Friday night: 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, 33; Lawrence Levine, 67 (assistant professor); Sarena Dawn Moore, 44.

Update: At 1:45 p.m. PST, Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin confirmed that the shooter, a 20-year-old white male, is dead. Hanlin said he believes there was gunfire exchanged between the shooter and police officers. He confirmed that there were fatalities and injuries, but could not confirm the number. The Oregon Attorney General says that there were 13 deaths. The number of injuries remains unconfirmed, but the reported number is still 20. At 5 p.m., Hanlin confirmed 10 fatalities and seven injuries. The shooter was identified by the New York Times as Chris Harper Mercer Thursday night.

Earlier: On Thursday afternoon, a shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon left between 7 and 15 people dead and roughly 20 injured, according to the county police who spoke to local media. The shooter is reportedly "down," according to CNN and questions are beginning to emerge regarding his or her identity, and furthermore, where he or she may have obtained the firearm used.

According to FOX 12 and KPTV, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed a bill into law in May 2015 requiring criminal background checks for all persons seeking to purchase a handgun. But in comparison to other states, Oregon's gun control laws are lax. A permit or license is not required to buy a rifle, shotgun, or handgun. Additionally, guns do not need to be registered.

As of now, the only information regarding the type of gun or amount of guns the shooter had is that he allegedly carried four of them during the attack. We'll update as more info is available.

Oregon firearm dealers and distributors are required to keep a record of all transactions and report regularly to the state. It is illegal to own a gun in Oregon if you are under the age of 18 (unless consent is given by a parent or it is for hunting purposes), a convicted felon or juvenile offender, committed to a mental health facility, "developmentally disabled," in prison, or otherwise prohibited from purchasing.