Father of slain Virginia journalist calls for action on gun violence

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U.S. Gun Laws Must Change, Says Alison Parker's Father

The father of a Virginia television journalist who was shot dead during a live broadcast last month took to the steps of the U.S. Capitol on Thursday to call on Congress to act on gun violence.

Andy Parker, whose daughter Alison Parker was one of two journalists killed in the attack, joined Virginia's two senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, and its governor, Terry McAuliffe, to call for more stringent laws requiring background checks for gun buyers.

"After my daughter Alison was tragically killed two weeks ago, I said on national television that we have to do whatever it takes to fix this country's gun violence problem," said Parker, whose 24-year-old daughter was targeted along with cameraman Adam Ward, 27, by a former employee of the CBS affiliate where they worked, WBGJ7.

See images of Andy Parker's speech:

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Father of slain Virginia journalist calls for action on gun violence
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 10: Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) (L), speaks while flanked by Andy Parker (R), father of murdered TV reporter Alison Parker, during a anti gun rally on Capitol Hill September 10, 2015 in Washington, DC. Parker joined Everytown Survivor Network, and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, to urge Congress in passing legislation to reduce gun violence. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 10: Andy Parker (L), father of murdered TV reporter Alison Parker, hugs Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) during a anti gun rally on Capitol Hill September 10, 2015 in Washington, DC. Parker joined Everytown Survivor Network, and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, to urge Congress in passing legislation to reduce gun violence. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Andy Parker, father of WDBJ-TV reporter Alison Parker, who was shot dead on live television Aug 26, right, is hugged by Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, before the start of a rally against gun violence . (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Andy Parker, father of WDBJ-TV reporter Alison Parker, left, who was shot dead on live television Aug 26, accompanied by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, waves to the crowd after speaking at a rally against gun violence, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Maria Pike of Chicago, holding a photo of her son Ricky Pike, attends a rally against gun violence, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington. The father of Virginia shooting victim Alison Parker is urging lawmakers to defy the powerful gun lobby and pass legislation to strengthen background checks for gun purchasers. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Andy Parker, father of WDBJ-TV reporter Alison Parker, who was shot dead on live television Aug 26, second from left, talks with Sen. Time Kaine, D-Va., second from right, Alison Parker's boyfriend Chris Hurst, right, and Parker's son, left, before the start of a rally against gun violence, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 10: Yvonne Crasso, holds a picture of her sister Nina Michele Bradley, who was killed by a gun at age 23 in 2012, during a rally on the East Front lawn of the Capitol to demand that Congress take action on gun control legislation, September 10, 2015. Ashley Cech, whose mother Yvonne Cech, a librarian, survived the Sandy Hook shootings, appears with Crasso. The event, titled #Whateverittakes Day of Action, was hosted by Everytown for Gun Safety and featured speeches by political leaders and families of gun violence victims. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 10: Andy Parker, whose daughter Alison, a reporter for WDBJ-TV reporter, was killed on air last month, gattends a rally on the East Front lawn of the Capitol to demand that Congress take action on gun control legislation, September 10, 2015. The event, titled #Whateverittakes Day of Action, was hosted by Everytown for Gun Safety and featured speeches by political leaders and families of gun violence victims. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 10: Diana Rodriguez, center, of New York, whose daughter Samantha Guzman was killed by gun violence at age 18 in 2006, attends a rally on the East Front lawn of the Capitol to demand that Congress take action on gun control legislation, September 10, 2015. The event, titled #Whateverittakes Day of Action, was hosted by Everytown for Gun Safety and featured speeches by political leaders and families of gun violence victims. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
People attend a rally against gun violence, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Pam Bosley of Chicago, left, holds a photo of her son Terrell Bosley who was killed in 2006 when he was 18, as she attends a rally against gun violence, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
People hold up signs as they attend a rally against gun violence, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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Warner and Kaine, both Democrats, called for expanded national requirements for background checks for gun buyers.

"The gun laws in our country have done little to stem senseless gun violence," Kaine said. "We have the power to make critical improvements, through universal background checks and other commonsense legislation, that will make it less likely that dangerous individuals will get a weapon in their hands and use it against others."

The gunman in the Aug. 26 attack at Smith Mountain Lake in southwest Virginia, Vester Flanagan, fired 17 rounds from a legally purchased .40-caliber Glock pistol. He also wounded local Chamber of Commerce official Vicki Gardner, who was released from the hospital on Tuesday.

Flanagan, 41, shot himself as police pursued him on a Virginia highway and died at a hospital. In a fax to ABC News the day of the shooting, Flanagan, who was black, called himself a "powder keg" of anger over what he saw as racial discrimination. Parker and Ward were white.

Other high-profile shooting incidents, including the 2012 massacre of 26 young children and educators at a Connecticut elementary school, have prompted similar calls, but no new national regulations on gun ownership have materialized.

Gun-rights proponents, including the powerful Virginia-based National Rifle Association, have resisted these moves. They note the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms and argue that officials should do more to enforce existing gun laws rather than trying to pass new ones.

"No amount of gun control would have stopped the suspect in the Roanoke shooting," said Dudley Brown, president of the Virginia-based National Association of Gun Rights.

(Editing by Scott Malone and Mohammad Zargham)

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