Virgina shooting victim’s father urges for tighter gun laws

Father of Alison Parker, one of two Virgina’s jounalists shot dead in on-air attack, sends US President Obama appeal to tighten gun laws

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

A memorial for two slain journalists at Bridgewater Plaza in Moneta, Virginia., on Friday, Aug. 28, 2015.

Andy Parker, father of Alison Parker, one of two Virginia’s WDBJ7 TV journalists killed live on air on Wednesday, has appealed to US President Barack Obama to push through tougher gun laws.

"You need to do this... I will help you do this and the press is with you on this because they just lost one of their own," Parker told the BBC.

Staff of WDBJ TV have been mourning the loss of their reporter, Alison, and cameraman Adam Ward who were shot dead live on-air by a displeased former colleague, Vester Flanagan, on Wednesday.

Flanagan was able to post online a video he had filmed while shooting the two victims before he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound later on the same day.

WDBJ's former news chief Dan Dennison argued on Wednesday that Flanagan had complained of racial discrimination at the workplace but "all these allegations were deemed to be unfounded."

In a fax message sent to ABC News, Flanagan said his animosity had been "building steadily" and a recent attack on a church specifically attended by black people in Charleston, South Carolina, had driven him to "tipping point."

The attack has once again flared up the controversial debate about gun control laws in the country.

Parker recognised the difficulty of battling for a change in the law, but argued that the president is able take on the challenge as he had with other issues facing the nation, including healthcare reform.

"Mr President, you need to do this. Please do it. Please do it for us and for other people so they're not going to lose their Alisons and their Adams," he stated in an emotional message.

In 2013, President Obama supported legislation to extend background checks for gun buyers and to place a ban on rapid-firing assault weapons following the murder of 26 people by a rampaged gunman firing a semi-automatic rifle in Newtown, Connecticut, at the Sandy Hook primary school, but it was rejected.

Last month, Obama told BBC that the failure for the congress to pass "common-sense gun safety laws" was the greatest irritation of his presidency career.

On Wednesday, he said the country is required to do "a better job of making sure that people who have problems, people who shouldn't have guns, don't have them."

Upcoming presidential elections candidate, Hillary Clinton, pressed that she would "take on" the massive problem of gun violence, even though she admitted that it was "a very political, difficult issue in America."

"I want to reiterate how important it is we not let yet another terrible incidence go by without trying to do something more to prevent this incredible killing that is stalking our country," Clinton added.

Republican presidential hopefuls Jim Gilmore and Ben Carson have warned against any rush to introduce tougher gun controls.

Although the issue has stalled nationally, gun control measures have gone ahead in the last two years in several states.

There have been at least 885 mass shootings across the US since the Sandy Hook incident, with shooters killing at least 1,144 people and wounding more than 3,180, according to the mass shooting tracker, the world's only crowdsourced mass shooting tracker.

According to “The Geography of Gun Deaths” written by the economist Richard Florida, higher populations with more stress and more immigrants did not correlate with more gun deaths, but rather states with tighter gun control laws showed fewer gun-related deaths.


TRTWorld and agencies