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Rick Warren says son killed himself with illegal gun purchased over the ‘Net

By GILLIAN FLACCUS
April 12, 2013

Matthew Warren, the son of Pastor Rick Warren

Matthew Warren, the son of Pastor Rick Warren

Pastor Rick Warren said his son killed himself with an unregistered gun he purchased through the Internet.

Warren sent a tweet Thursday saying he forgives whoever sold the weapon to his 27-year-old son Matthew, who committed suicide last Friday.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department is trying to find the seller but it won’t be easy. The gun’s serial number was scratched off, making it impossible to trace, spokesman Jim Amormino said.

“We can’t tell if it’s registered or not because the serial number is scratched off,” he said. “At one point in time, it may have been, but it’s going to be impossible to find out.”

It’s illegal in California to buy a gun without a background check and purchasers are supposed to register their firearms. Defacing a gun’s serial number is a federal offense.

Rick Warren is pastor of Saddleback Church in Orange County and author of “The Purpose-Driven Life,” a bestseller.

He and his wife, Kay, said in an email on Saturday that their son struggled for much of his life with severe depression and suicidal thoughts. They have set up a mental health fund in Matthew’s memory.

Warren has tweeted daily since his son’s death, including items about seeing his son’s body at the coroner’s office for the first time, combating the stigma of mental illness and the challenges of grieving when a public figure.

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Follow Gillian Flaccus on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/gflaccus
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Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2013 Capitol Hill Blue

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2 Responses to Rick Warren says son killed himself with illegal gun purchased over the ‘Net

  1. woody188

    April 12, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    I hope the good Senators crafting the gun background check bill are paying attention. How can they enforce background checks?

    All they are doing is increasing the cost of purchase for buyers and increasing costs of government oversight. Nothing in their bill will curb gun violence.

    At least 3 laws were broken in the above story, laws that only work when the buyer or seller are licensed public dealers. Illegal arms dealers could care less.

  2. Pondering_It_All

    April 12, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Sure there are loopholes, but that’s no reason to just give up. That’s a reason to plug the loopholes!

    When people offer illegal drugs or child porn for sale on the internet, our law enforcement agencies go after them immediately. That’s why you don’t see those things for sale on the internet. If private gun sales via internet carried the same penalties and priority with law enforcement, then we wouldn’t see that either.

    Private sales are cheaper right now, but only because so many of the proper procedures are being ignored. When people buy guns in private sales, many will just ignore things like obliterated serial numbers and registration requirements. So make private sales illegal, with a hefty fine, permanent listing on the “no guns allowed” list for both buyer and seller, and jail time. Sales would have to go through a licensed gun dealer, who would be responsible for checking the weapon is legal, the seller is the registered owner, and the buyer is not on the “no guns allowed” list. We could even require the dealer to test fire the gun to make sure it functions correctly and the safety (if present) works.