On the morning of February 27, T.J. Lane, a 17-year-old sophomore, opened fire in the Chardon High School cafeteria with a Ruger .22-caliber Mark III target pistol, killing three students and wounding two others. It was a terrible tragedy—even in a country where mass shootings have become a daily occurrence—that stirred the nation and broke the hearts of residents of Geauga County, Ohio.
Not everyone was focused on mourning and paying their respects, however...
Scott Weber is one of the most profitable firearms dealers in Ohio and an outspoken pro-gun activist. He owns Gunrunner Online Auctions and a gun shop in Burton, Ohio. Before entering the gun dealing business in 2000, Weber taught at a high school and was employed by Beretta to showcase the company's products. He is scheduled to begin hosting a talk radio show this month on WNIR-FM and hopes to develop a TV show about his business that is similar to "Pawn Stars" or "American Pickers."
On the day of the massacre at Chardon High School, Weber recounted his immediate reaction to the shooting on his "Burton Blog":
I stopped my workout and went into the lockeroom and put my coat on. I went to the office desk and got onto a phone and called my gun stores. I got a hold of my manager who was there early. I said, "Make sure everyone has on handguns as usual and our riot guns and M4's are loaded and available. Run security up by 3." "Already done, boss," he said.
Beyond that spasm of paranoia, no grief was forthcoming. Weber used the rest of the blog as a "gotcha" moment:
OK, what have we been saying on this blog for YEARS now? Just because you're in Geauga County, does NOT mean you're safe! And what else have we been saying? Where ever there is a "No Gun" zone, rest assured this is WHERE THE SHOOTINGS WILL OCCUR because the shooter will not encounter any resistance ... As I've said before: ARM YOURSELF. Your life is in your own hands. DO NOT rely on law enforcement to protect you. They come way, way too late..."
It was a convenient (and always timely) message for a man who sells guns for a living...
A few days later, Christopher Evans of The Plain Dealer contacted Weber and asked him if T.J. Lane's access to guns was a factor in the shootings. Both Lane and his family have a long history of violence and criminal conduct. Despite this fact, reports indicate that "about two dozen weapons were discovered in FBI searches of Lane's relatives' homes." Ohio has no "Child Access Prevention" law to hold gun owners accountable if a child or teen gains unauthorized access to their firearms.
Nonetheless, Weber had this to tell Evans:
It has nothing to do with accessibility of guns. I'm not gonna enter that conversation. It's absurd.
But Weber was just getting warmed up. The day after Evans' editorial appeared in The Plain Dealer, he wrote a scathing blog attacking the newspaper and anyone who might agree with its conclusion that access to guns played a role in the tragedy at Chardon High School. Weber started his piece out with a homophobic rant:
I don't read the Plain Squealer ... From what I have heard, they are in big money trouble (no one else is reading them either!) and all they have left is a bunch of "B" and "C" grade "journalists" (I use that term very loosely) who are tremendously LIBERAL and ANTI-GUN. Most are queers from what I've heard, so they often write about promoting queers to marry in Ohio (it's not possible to have such a union, but I hear they are for it-they stick together, these queers).
Weber then began a name-calling tirade that would do a middle-schooler proud:
What I think is hilarious is that far left/communist/Obuma loving journalists-the PD's vast make-up-are FORCED to cover the GUN OWNING REVOLUTION that is taking place right now! ... So I say to all of the gun-hating, lily-livered, bed-wetting liberal "journalists" (read that as typists and hacks) who write anti-gun swill with their stupid terms that they trade back and forth like the empty heads that they are (examples: "Assault Weapons", "Cop-Killer Bullets", "Unlicensed gun dealers", "High Capacity Magazines", "Gun Show Loopholes", "Saturday Night Specials", "Rogue Gun Dealers", etc.) guess what? KEEP WRITING ALL THE SWILL YOU DO BECAUSE YOU ARE CAUSING HUGE RUSHES TO GUN STORES AND AUCTION SITES AND WE LOVE IT! ... Hey, these days you can barely get into the door of a Cleveland gun show, the gun stores are three and four deep on the counters waiting to buy and online sites like mine are BOOMING! Why? Because the gun buyers are saying: "Fuck you!" to the gun writers and the anti-gunner politicians! I get VAST entertainment out of these hack anti-gun "writers" ... I just laugh and then load up my best AR-15 and blast-off a few magazines off my back porch! Salute! And then I strap on my two concealed handguns and off I go!
Finally, Weber concluded with a threat of violence, making reference to a frequent commenter at his blog:
Larry Taylor-writer of [the] letter above is one of the nation's top trap shooters and was a former Navy SEAL. I have shot MANY competitive targets with him. The PD writers would do well NOT to mess with guy... Larry's on MY SIDE and he's one of the GOOD GUYS. I call tell you this: If any of the bed-wetters came around Larry and starting talking anti-gun, this Good American who fought for the Bill of Rights would put their dentist in the next highest tax bracket!But the day wouldn't have been complete if Weber didn't call for the cash one more time, so he did:
Meanwhile, as Christopher Evans wrote in the wake of yet another shooting in the Cleveland area in which a 13-year-old accidentally killed his 10-year-old brother, "Another family devastated. Another child gone. Only the guns remain."