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

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:

39 PHOTOS
Alison Parker and Adam Ward -- WDBJ 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
ROANOKE, VA - SEPTEMBER 01: A picture of slain WDBJ photojournalists Adam Ward and Alison Parker is seen at a make shift memorial outside the station September 1, 2015 in Roanoke, Virginia. Friends and families gathered at a celebration of life at First Baptist Church earlier to remember Ward, who was shot during a live broadcast reporting, along with reporter Alison Parker. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Roanoke residents Josh Olinger, 27, left, and Frank House hold a sign of support as friends and family gather at First Baptist Church for the funeral of television cameraman Adam Ward in Roanoke, Virginia, September 1, 2015. Ward and Reporter Alison Parker were slain during a live interview August 26 by disgruntled former employee Vester Flanagan, who later shot himself and died. REUTERS/Jason Miczek
WDBJ TV weatherman Leo Hirshbrunner(L) views the makeshift memorial with members of the crew at the gate of WDBJ's television studios August 27, 2015, in Roanoke, Virginia. The former television reporter who shot dead two journalists during a live US broadcast before killing himself warned he had been a 'human powder keg... just waiting to go BOOM.' The gunman -- Vester Lee Flanagan, 41, also known as Bryce Williams --posted chilling footage of Wednesday's shocking double murder online. Reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, were shot and killed at close range while conducting an on-air interview for WDBJ, a CBS affiliate in Roanoke, Virginia, about 240 miles (385 kilometers) southwest of Washington. Friends, family and the community at large mourned the tragedy, which renewed calls for tougher gun laws in the United States. Flanagan was said to have bought his gun legally. AFP PHOTO/PAUL J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Chris Hurst (R), a journalist at the station and boyfriend of slain journalist Alison Parker, speaks with journalists outside of the offices for WDBJ7, where slain journalists Parker and Adam Ward worked in Roanoke, Virginia August 27, 2015. Parker, 24, and Ward, 27, were shot dead on Wednesday during a live segment for the CBS affiliate in Roanoke, Virginia, at a local recreation site about 200 miles (320 km) southwest of Washington. Another woman was wounded. The suspected gunman, 41-year-old Vester Flanagan, later died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said. REUTERS/Chris Keane
People gather outside Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens as the funeral procession approaches for television cameraman Adam Ward in Roanoke, Virginia, September 1, 2015. Ward and Reporter Alison Parker were slain during a live interview August 26 by disgruntled former employee Vester Flanagan, who later shot himself and died. REUTERS/Jason Miczek TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) (L) greets Andy Parker (C), the father of slain WDBJ reporter Alison Parker who was shot and killed on live TV in August, as they arrive to participate in a rally against gun violence, on the U.S. Capitol grounds in Washington September 10, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
A picture of slain journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward is seen next to candles at a memorial outside of the offices for WDBJ7 in Roanoke, Virginia August 27, 2015. Parker, 24, and Ward, 27, were shot dead on Wednesday during a live segment for the CBS affiliate in Roanoke, Virginia, at a local recreation site about 200 miles (320 km) southwest of Washington. Another woman was wounded. The suspected gunman, 41-year-old Vester Flanagan, later died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said. REUTERS/Chris Keane
WDBJ 7 President and General Manager Jeffrey A. Marks (R) leads mourners to First Baptist Church for the funeral of television cameraman Adam Ward in Roanoke, Virginia September 1, 2015. Ward and Reporter Alison Parker were slain during a live interview in August 26 by disgruntled former employee Vester Flanagan, who later shot himself and died. REUTERS/Jason Miczek
RICHMOND, VA - SEPTEMBER 11: A detailed view of a decal on the rear bumper on the #83 James Madison University Toyota, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 11, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. The decal remembers the life of Alison Parker, a WDBJ-TV reporter who was killed on air last month in Roanoke, Virginia. (Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
ROANOKE, VA - SEPTEMBER 01: People embrace each other as they come out from First Baptist Church after a celebration of life for slain WDBJ photojournalist Adam Ward September 1, 2015 in Roanoke, Virginia. Friends and families gathered to remember Ward, who was shot during a live broadcast reporting, along with reporter Alison Parker. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
A cameraman does some close up shots at WDBJ-TV's television studios on August 27, 2015, in Roanoke, Virginia. The former television reporter who shot dead two journalists during a live US broadcast before killing himself warned he had been a 'human powder keg... just waiting to go BOOM.' The gunman -- Vester Lee Flanagan, 41, also known as Bryce Williams --posted chilling footage of Wednesday's shocking double murder online. Reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, were shot and killed at close range while conducting an on-air interview at the shopping center for WDBJ, a CBS affiliate in Roanoke, Virginia, about 240 miles (385 kilometers) southwest of Washington. Friends, family and the community at large mourned the tragedy, which renewed calls for tougher gun laws in the United States. Flanagan was said to have bought his gun legally. AFP PHOTO/PAUL J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Staffers at WDBJ-TV hold hands to comfort each other during a press conference with WDBJ'S General Manager, Jeff Marksa at WDBJ's television studios on August 27, 2015, in Roanoke, Virginia. The former television reporter who shot dead two journalists during a live US broadcast before killing himself warned he had been a 'human powder keg... just waiting to go BOOM.' The gunman -- Vester Lee Flanagan, 41, also known as Bryce Williams --posted chilling footage of Wednesday's shocking double murder online. Reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, were shot and killed at close range while conducting an on-air interview at the shopping center for WDBJ, a CBS affiliate in Roanoke, Virginia, about 240 miles (385 kilometers) southwest of Washington. Friends, family and the community at large mourned the tragedy, which renewed calls for tougher gun laws in the United States. Flanagan was said to have bought his gun legally. AFP PHOTO/PAUL J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
ROANOKE, VA - AUGUST 27: Jeff Marks, General Manager for WDBJ TV talks to the press about the two journalists that were killed on August 27, 2015 in Roanoke, Virginia. Two employees of WDBJ TV were killed during a live broadcast at Bridgewater Plaza on Smith Mountain Lake on August 26. 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 Franklin County Deputy Sheriff uses his cellphone as he guards the shopping center at Smith Mountain Lake and the Regional Chamber of Commerece August 27, 2015, in Moneta, Virginia. The former television reporter who shot dead two journalists during a live US broadcast before killing himself warned he had been a 'human powder keg... just waiting to go BOOM.' The gunman -- Vester Lee Flanagan, 41, also known as Bryce Williams --posted chilling footage of Wednesday's shocking double murder online. Reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, were shot and killed at close range while conducting an on-air interview at the shopping center for WDBJ, a CBS affiliate in Roanoke, Virginia, about 240 miles (385 kilometers) southwest of Washington. Friends, family and the community at large mourned the tragedy, which renewed calls for tougher gun laws in the United States. Flanagan was said to have bought his gun legally. AFP PHOTO/PAUL J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
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)
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. 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
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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