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.
"I think this time it's going to be different"
Andy Parker, father of slain reporter Alison Parker
"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."
See photos of last week's shooting and aftermath:
WDBJ Moneta, Virginia on-air shooting
'These people are messing with the wrong family': Alison Parker's parents vow to fight for gun control
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
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
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
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
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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."