'These people are messing with the wrong family': Alison Parker's parents vow to fight for gun control

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Father of Virginia Reporter Shot on Air Reaffirms Push for Gun Control


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."

SEE ALSO:Mourners to pay tribute to slain television cameraman

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."

See photos of last week's shooting and aftermath:

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WDBJ Moneta, Virginia on-air shooting
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'These people are messing with the wrong family': Alison Parker's parents vow to fight for gun control
This undated photo provided by WDBJ-TV, in Roanoke, Va., shows station reporter Alison Parker, left, and cameraman Adam Ward. Ward and Parker were fatally shot on-air Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, by a former staffer in Moneta, Va. (WDBJ-TV via AP)
WDBJ-TV7 news morning anchor Kimberly McBroom, second from right, and meteorologist Leo Hirsbrunner, right, are joined by visiting anchor Steve Grant, second from left, and Dr. Thomas Milam, of the Carilion Clinic, as they observe a moment of silence during the early morning newscast at the station, in Roanoke, Va., Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. The moment of silence was at the moment reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were killed during a live broadcast Wednesday, while on assignment in Moneta. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Members of the WDBJ-TV7 news staff prepare for the early morning newscast at the station, in Roanoke, Va., Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. A reporter and cameraman from the station were killed during a live broadcast Wednesday, by a former colleague. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
WDBJ-TV7 anchor Chris Hurst, right, hugs meteorologist Leo Hirsbrunner during the early morning newscast at WDBJ-TV7, in Roanoke, Va., Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. Hurst was the fiance of Alison Parker, who was killed during a live broadcast Wednesday, in Moneta. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
WDBJ-TV7 news morning anchor Kimberly McBroom, center, gets a hug from visiting anchor Steve Grant, left, as meteorologist Leo Hirsbrunner reflects after their early morning newscast at the station, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, in Roanoke, Va. Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were killed during a live broadcast Wednesday, while on assignment in Moneta. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
MONETA, VA - AUGUST 26: Police work the crime scene at Bridgewater Plaza on Smith Mountain Lake on August 26, 2015 in Moneta, Virginia. Two employees of WDBJ TV were killed this morning during a live broadcast. The victims have been identified as reporter Alison Parker and camerman Adam Ward. Parker, 24 and Ward, 27, worked for WDBJ in Roanoke, Virginia. The suspect, Vester Lee Flanigan, also known as Bryce Williams, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. (Photo by Jay Paul/Getty Images)

Authorities block Booker T. Washington Highway at Bridgewater Plaza, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, in Moneta, Va., after two journalists were fatally shot while broadcasting live from the plaza earlier in the day. (Stephanie Klein-Davis/The Roanoke Times via AP)

In this framegrab from video made by the camera of WDBJ-TV cameraman Adam Ward, Vester Lee Flanagan II stands over Ward with a gun after fatally shooting him and reporter Alison Parker during a live on-air interview in Moneta, Va., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. Flanagan, who had been an employee at WDBJ and appeared on air as Bryce Williams, posted his own video of the attack on his social media accounts after fleeing the scene. (Twitter via AP)
This undated composite photograph made available by WDBJ-TV shows reporter Alison Parker, left, and cameraman Adam Ward. Parker and Ward were fatally shot during an on-air interview, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, in Moneta, Va. Authorities identified the suspect as fellow journalist Vester Lee Flanagan II, who appeared on WDBJ-TV as Bryce Williams. Flanagan was fired from the station in 2013. (Courtesy of WDBJ-TV via AP)
MONETA, VA - AUGUST 26: The TV truck that journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward drove before they were killed this morning during a live broadcast sits in a parking lot near the scene on August 26, 2015 in Moneta, Virginia. Two employees of WDBJ TV were killed this morning during a live broadcast at Bridgewater Plaza on Smith Mountain Lake. The victims have been identified as reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward. Parker, 24 and Ward, 27, worked for WDBJ in Roanoke, Virginia. The suspect, Vester Lee Flanigan, also known as Bryce Williams, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. (Photo by Jay Paul/Getty Images)
Investigators look at the body of WDBJ-TV cameraman Adam Ward after he and reporter Alison Parker were fatally shot during an on-air interview, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, in Moneta, Va. Authorities identified the suspect as fellow journalist Vester Lee Flanagan II, who appeared on WDBJ-TV as Bryce Williams. Flanagan was fired from the station. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
This undated photo provided by WDBJ-TV, shows Vester Lee Flanagan II, who killed WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward in Moneta, Va., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. Flanagan was a former employee at WDBJ who appeared on air as Bryce Williams. (WDBJ-TV via AP) 
UNITED STATES - August 26: Virginia State Police, as well as local and federal authorities, investigate the scene on Interstate 66 eastbound where Vester Lee Flanagan II crashed his car after being pursued by state police near Linden, Va., Wednesday, August 26, 2015. Flanagan was being pursued after fatally shooting WDBJ-TV cameraman Adam Ward and reporter Alison Parker during an on-air interview in Moneta, Va. Flanagan was a former journalist at the television station, where he appeared on air as Bryce Williams. Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
Authorities block Virginia State Route 122 at Bridgewater Plaza, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, in Moneta, Va., after two journalists were fatally shot while broadcasting live from the plaza earlier in the day. (Stephanie Klein-Davis/The Roanoke Times via AP)
This undated photograph made available by WDBJ-TV shows reporter Alison Parker, left, and cameraman Adam Ward. Parker and Ward were fatally shot during an on-air interview, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, in Moneta, Va. Authorities identified the suspect as fellow journalist Vester Lee Flanagan II, who appeared on WDBJ-TV as Bryce Williams. Flanagan was fired from the station in 2013. (Courtesy of WDBJ-TV via AP) 
Investigators search garbage from a dumpster near the apartment of Vester Lee Flanagan II, in Roanoke, Va., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. Flanagan filmed himself gunning down a WDBJ-TV reporter and cameraman during a live broadcast Wednesday and posted the video on social media after fleeing the scene. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
MONETA, VA - AUGUST 26: Franklin County, Virginia sheriff, Bill Overton speaks to the press on August 26, 2015 in Moneta, Virginia. Two employees of WDBJ TV were killed this morning during a live broadcast at Bridgewater Plaza on Smith Mountain Lake. The victims have been identified as reporter Alison Parker and camerman Adam Ward. Parker, 24 and Ward, 27, worked for WDBJ in Roanoke, Virginia. The suspect, Vester Lee Flanigan, also known as Bryce Williams, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. (Photo by Jay Paul/Getty Images)
A Roanoke police officer moves road cones back into position after letting a vehicle through at WDBJ's Digital Broadcast Center, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, in Roanoke, Va. Two of the station's journalists were fatally shot while doing an on-air broadcast earlier in the day at Bridgewater Plaza in Moneta, Va. (Erica Yoon/The Roanoke Times via AP)
We love you, Alison and Adam. http://t.co/hLSzQi06XE
It is with extreme sadness that we report WDBJ7's Alison Parker and Adam Ward were killed in an attack this morning. http://t.co/oC9s4vLJXV
Very sad moment in the newsroom as the WDBJ GM confirms that both the reporter and photographer are dead. Senseless http://t.co/qWvWd55UZh
We didn't share this publicly, but @AParkerWDBJ7 and I were very much in love. We just moved in together. I am numb. http://t.co/tUrHVwAXcN
We were together almost nine months. It was the best nine months of our lives. We wanted to get married.We just celebrated her 24th birthday
Map locates Moneta, Va. (Photo via AP)
Still shots of #WDBJ killer. Please RT. http://t.co/5y3mJLs9nn
#BREAKING #WDBJ shooting suspect Vester Flanagan has shot and killed himself on I-66: http://t.co/3Nx0vOkeIN #WHSV http://t.co/BHVR6QcvTS
The suspect in the #WDBJ shooting is being chased north on I-81
Don't share the video of the shooting Share this link: 12 minutes of the WDBJ crew remembering who these people were http://t.co/m4eWGija1x
Vicki Gardner of the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce was hurt in the shooting. We are told she is in surgery. http://t.co/XLx3pS2I5X
Just hanging out in the newsroom with @jdashiell and Photographer Adam Ward! http://t.co/lyW9cCZ99G
Photog Adam @dowork88 playing with little Ralphie this morning at the Regional Center for Animal Care and Protection! http://t.co/TcooX5ZKu6
A "rock star" & a "great journalist." Friends remember #WDBJ journalists killed in shooting: http://t.co/V11VsJB7D7 http://t.co/qI8WGKlIJW
Late journalist Alison Parker in her own words. The video was posted to #WDBJ website earlier this year. http://t.co/gFabZwreK6
I am comforted by everyone at @WDBJ7. We are a family. She worked with Adam every day. They were a team. I am heartbroken for his fiancee.
Heartbroken over senseless murders today in Smith Mountain Lake. State Police on scene working w/ local law agencies to capture suspect.
This is a horrific day for our @wdbj family and the community we serve. http://t.co/LYRDFB8C2R
JUST IN: Reporter and photographer killed after gunman opens fire live on TV http://t.co/sHeTmsOhcm @wsls http://t.co/eZ8XnSdHz2
#WDBJ7 http://t.co/vuceViGwpi
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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."

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