RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Andy Parker, the father of Alison Parker, the reporter shot and killed along with her photographer Adam Ward on live television in Roanoke, pledges to do “whatever it takes” to prevent another tragedy.
Parker participated in the #WhateverItTakes “Day of Action” at the nation’s Capitol on Thursday, as groups pushed for more gun control laws, specifically more background checks.
“We just want to keep guns out of the hands of people crazy people that’s it,” says Parker. “Enough is enough. You think that the tipping point, I always thought after Sandy Hook and Aurora and the Charleston shootings, I mean surely something’s going to get done but I think this time may be different because it happened on national TV.”
“We will do whatever it takes, and whatever it takes means we need politicians to listen,” said Andrew Goddard, whose son survived the VT massacre.
Parker joined Gov. Terry McAuliffe, as well as U.S. senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine with a message to Congress.
“Why don’t we ask anybody who sells or gives somebody a gun to take reasonable steps to make sure that that person is not prohibiting and is in fact eligible to have a gun. I mean, isn’t personal responsibility a good thing?” asked Senator Tim Kaine.
Governor Terry McAuliffe also called on politicians to stand up to one of the biggest opponents of additional gun control legislation.
“Sick and tired of gutless politicians who are scared of the NRA,” said Gov. McAuliffe. The Governor also said voters have a responsibility as well.
“Elections matter and last year 36.7 percent of eligible voters voted, so no one paid a price. Same old status quo,” says Gov. McAuliffe.
“We want to let them know that you don’t have to choose between the second amendment and gun violence prevention. There are some common sense things that we can do to reduce gun violence in this country,” said Robin Willhide with Moms Demand Action, one of the groups organizing the event.
Dozens of survivors of gun violence were also in attendance, including Andrew Goddard’s son Colin, who was shot four times and survived the Virginia Tech massacre.
“Anybody who gets involved in these kinds of situations wants to know is there anything they can do to stop it from happening to someone else,” said Andrew Goddard. “On that computer I can pull up how many guns are for sale in Virginia, in Richmond right now. And I could contact those people and 80 or 90 percent of those guns are going to be sold without a background check.”
Supporters say gun violence kills 88 Americans every day, and one way to help reduce that number is by implementing universal background checks for all who want to buy guns.
“We need to close that loophole down. We need to make it so that it’s not easy for dangerous people to purchase guns through the mainstream market,” said Willhide.
Goddard says they’d also like to see a gun violence prevention order or more emphasizes on gun storage safety. And although these groups have seen success in some states, there’s still a lot to be done.
These incidents are piling up. And at some point, people are going to say ‘enough is enough,’” he said.
The president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League responded with this statement:
“The push for Universal Background Checks (UBCs) is a knee-jerk reaction that will not be effective in reducing crime, as evidenced by the poor results in states that have such a system.
Background checks are ineffective generally. In 2010, only 44 of 78,000 people flagged by the federal National Instant Check System were prosecuted in the entire United States, with only 13 of them convicted. Background checks are also easy to get around, as criminals typically have another person buy the guns for them, a situation that cannot be stopped by any kind of background check.
A recent survey of prisoners in Illinois, a state that has UBCs, showed that 97 percent of those criminals got their guns from fellow gang-bangers, friends, or family.
UBCs are really a form of gun registration and California is using just such a registration system to confiscate guns currently.
Finally, the WDBJ murderer passed a background check as did virtually every mass shooter in the last decade.
“The best solution is to make it easier for good people to be able to own firearms and to be able to carry them everywhere for self-defense.”