The father of a Virginia journalist who was gunned down during a live TV broadcast delivered an emotional message about gun laws during an interview with Fox News on Wednesday night.
“We can only take some solace in the fact that she had a wonderful life, she was extremely happy,” Andy Parker told Fox News‘ Megyn Kelly of his late daughter, Alison.
Alison, a reporter for Virginia station WDBJ, was shot on Wednesday morning along with photographer and cameraman Adam Ward. The police say the suspected gunman was Vester Flanagan, who also used the name Bryce Williams. He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
As Andy Parker struggled through tears, he said he wanted to honor his daughter by taking a powerful stand: “We have got to do something about crazy people getting guns.”
The suspected shooter, a former reporter for WDBJ, had been fired and escorted by the police off the TV station’s premises in 2013. His firing came after several incidents in which he acted aggressively toward colleagues, station officials say. After Flanagan allegedly opened fire on Wednesday, ABC says a man claiming to be Bryce Williams sent a 23-page fax to the network, praising the gunmen responsible for the shootings at Virginia Tech and Columbine. The document also said racism played a role in Wednesday’s shooting, and that the alleged shooter had gotten the gun days after the Charleston shooting in June.
The tragedy has sparked renewed calls for tighter gun control measures, which have historically been difficult to pass in Virginia. Since the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre that left 32 dead, gun laws have actually loosened in the state. Background checks are currently not required to purchase firearms at gun shows.
Hours after the shooting on Wednesday, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said he would continue to push for gun control legislation, even though he was unable to pass a package in January that included restrictions on handgun purchases and new requirements for background checks. As The Huffington Post reports:
“I’ve proposed this now twice to the General Assembly. I ran on the topic. It was part of my platform that we need tougher gun laws in the Commonwealth,” McAuliffe said during a Wednesday morning appearance on WTOP’s monthly “Ask the Governor” program, in which listeners and live blog readers can pose questions.
“I will continue to push [gun control] as I have in two legislative sessions so far,” he said. “I put it up again last year. It never sees the light of day.”
Allison’s father Andy vowed to keep fighting as well, telling Fox that he would make gun control his “mission in life”:
“Whatever it takes to get gun legislation, to shame people, to shame legislators into doing something about closing loopholes and background checks and making sure crazy people don’t get guns,” he said. “So, this is not the last you have heard of me—this is something that is Alison’s legacy that I want to make happen.”