‘These People Are Messing With the Wrong Family’: Alison Parker’s Parents Vow to Fight for Gun Control

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Just hours after WDBJ journalist Alison Parker was shot on-air last week, her father, Andy Parker, appeared on Fox News and said he would dedicate his life to getting stricter gun legislation passed. After attending an interfaith service honoring Parker and cameraman Adam Ward on Sunday morning, Andy Parker appeared on CNN’s State of the Union to further his crusade. Parker said he’s already been in contact with Mark Kelly, husband of former representative Gabby Giffords, and representatives for Michael Bloomberg.

You always think there’s a tipping point. We thought that when Gabby was shot, you know, something would happen. With Sandy Hook, something would happen. With Aurora, something would happen. And it never did,” Parker said. “But I think people recognizing who the victim was and what she represented and how kind and sweet and innocent she was, I think this time it’s going to be different.” He added, “I promise you, these people are messing with the wrong family. We are going to effect a change.”

Parker said he hasn’t been watching TV since the shooting, and his daughter’s killer, Vester Lee Flanagan, “doesn’t even register.” “What registers is he was mentally disturbed and he was allowed to pass a background check,” he said. Parker also dismissed Donald Trump’s claim that the shooting was about mental health, but not guns. “There’s a linkage there between guns and mental health,” he said. “And there’s got to be some kind of protocol established so that we keep people from getting guns.”

Later on CNN, Andy Parker was joined by Alison’s mother, Barbara Parker, who said she’s equally committed to seeing new gun legislation passed. “If you are a parent, if you’re a mother, if you have children, can you look your child in the eye and say we’re willing to allow you to be collateral damage in order to keep what some people perceive as their Constitutional rights?” she asked.

In an op-ed published in the Washington Post on Sunday night, Andy Parker called out Virginia lawmakers who voted against recent gun-control bills. He said of Representative Bob Goodlatte, who represents Roanoke, where the shooting took place:

In his more than two years as chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Goodlatte has had plenty of opportunity to bring up universal background check legislation and other gun violence prevention bills. He has refused to lead on this issue, and he has done absolutely nothing to help contain the carnage we are seeing. On the other hand, Goodlatte had no problem cashing his check from the National Rifle Association during the 2014 election cycle. Shame on him.

He also criticized Virginia State senators John S. Edwards and William M. Stanley Jr., who voted against a gun-violence restraining order bill inspired by the Isla Vista, California, shooting that would have let family members or law enforcement petition a judge to temporarily seize an individual’s firearms during a mental-health emergency. “When Edwards and Stanley had a game-changing opportunity to vote on a similar GVRO policy in Virginia, they elected to serve their gun lobby masters and voted no,” he wrote. “Shame on them.”