Father of slain journalist calls for stricter gun laws

2 in Virginia were fatally shot on air by ex-TV co-worker.

Hawes Spencer and Richard Pérez Peña ©2015 The New York Times

WDBJ-TV reporter Nadine Maeser hugs a man outside the station in Roanoke, Va., Thursday. The colleagues of reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward returned to the air the day after the pair were shot during a live broadcast. ALLEN G. BREED / AP

ROANOKE, VA. — After the murder of two journalists on live television by a former co-worker, the father of one victim made a series of emotional appeals for laws that would prevent mentally ill people from buying guns, while the station they worked for observed a moment of silence Thursday.

“I’m going to do something, 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,” Andy Parker, the father of Alison Parker, said Wednesday night on Fox News. “This is not the last you’ve heard of me. This is something that is Alison’s legacy that I want to make happen.”

Thursday morning, on CNN, he said, “I’m for the Second Amendment, but there has to be a way to force politicians who are cowards in the pockets of the NRA to make sensible laws to make sure crazy people can’t get guns.”

Citing previous massacres by people with mental illnesses, he asked, “How many Alisons will it take?”

Appearing with Andy Parker on Fox, Chris Hurst, Alison Parker’s boyfriend and a fellow reporter at WDBJ-TV here, spoke more indirectly, emphasizing that he had covered mental health issues and did not want society to react to the tragedy by deciding to “discriminate against everybody else who has a mental illness.”