Andy Parker, the father of slain reporter Alison Parker, spoke at a rally on Thursday, trying to shame Congress into enacting tougher gun legislation. The father accused politicians of being corrupted by pro-gun lobbyists and explained that something must change.
According to NBC News, Alison Parker was a journalist for the Roanoke television station WDBJ in Virginia. On August 28th, one of the station’s disgruntled former reporters, Vester Flanagan, shot and killed her and her cameraman while they were in the middle of an interview.
The interviewee was also injured in the attack. The gunman took his own life as the police began to close in.
An earlier report from NBC showed that Flanagan bought the handgun he used in the shooting legally. There was nothing in his background that would have disqualified him from purchasing a firearm – his criminal record was clean except for a misdemeanor, and he fulfilled all criteria for mental health checks.
Father Andy Parker admitted in the rally that passing universal background checks would not prevent all shootings, but it is still the right thing to do.
“I know that weakening the stranglehold of the gun lobby won’t happen overnight. I know, too, that passing background check laws won’t prevent all acts of gun violence from taking place. But we must keep the pressure on our lawmakers until they do the right thing. And if they won’t, find their replacement.”
According to Newsweek, only licensed firearm dealers are required to conduct background checks under federal law (other measures vary state-by-state). As a result, roughly 40 percent of sales don’t require a check.
Alison Parker’s father explained at the rally that needs to change, and he would do “whatever it takes to get gun legislation to shame legislators into doing something about closing loopholes.”
Adding, “The overwhelming majority of Americans agree with common-sense reforms. But too many members of Congress remain in the pocket of the gun lobby, and that has got to change.”
The rally, called “Whatever It Takes,” featured Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and Democratic Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. The firearm legislation advocacy groups Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense rallied people in 50 communities to call for tougher laws.
Andrew Parker went on to name a few legislators that have been particularly resistant to change.
“We must do whatever it takes to you know, to shame these guys. People like Goodlatte, like Sen. Stanley, state Sen. Stanley in Virginia… these are cowards; they’re gutless cowards and I’m going to put them on notice.”
According to Politico, Virginia Representative Bob Goodlatte has an A rating from the NRA and represents the home district of Alison Parker and her cameraman.
In response to the rally, Goodlatte reportedly chided the government for not enforcing current laws better.
“At the same time, as I have previously pointed out to the Administration, many of our nation’s gun laws are not enforced, and the Obama Administration should take immediate steps to fully enforce the gun laws already on the books.”
Alison Parker’s father admits that it won’t be easy to change attitudes on Capitol Hill, but hopes that their struggle will eventually prompt stricter regulations.
[Image Credit: Getty Images]