clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Virginia shooting victim's father makes emotional plea for gun control on Fox News

The father of one of the two Virginia journalists shot and killed on live television on Wednesday vowed to make it his life mission to fight for gun control.

"Next week, it isn't going to be a story anymore, and everybody's gonna forget it," Andy Parker, father of WDBJ reporter Alison Parker, told Fox News's Megyn Kelly in the clip above from ThinkProgress. "But, mark my words, my mission in life … 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 in background checks and making sure crazy people don't get guns."

Parker isn't demanding Americans give up all their guns. He's asking to include private and gun show sales of firearms in background checks (they aren't today in most states or at the federal level), and to make it harder for people with mental illness to obtain firearms.

Research suggests gun control would mean fewer shootings

The typical responses to this kind of advocacy after a shooting are questions about whether gun control would have stopped the specific incident causing the outcry. It's impossible to know for sure, and I am not going to attempt to guess either way.

But the research suggests there would be fewer incidents like the Virginia shooting if there were fewer guns. And gun control, by design, reduces the flow of guns.

Whether at the state or country level, reviews of the studies by the Harvard School of Public Health's Injury Control Research Center have consistently found that places with more guns have more deaths after controlling for variables like socioeconomic factors and other crime. "Within the United States, a wide array of empirical evidence indicates that more guns in a community leads to more homicide," David Hemenway, the Injury Control Research Center's director, wrote in Private Guns, Public Health.

The measures Parker has called for are also really popular. Although US support for gun rights in general has grown over the past 20 years, stronger background checks and preventing people with mental illness from purchasing guns remain extraordinarily popular, surveys from the Pew Research Center have found.

A chart showing support for gun control measures.

Pew Research Center

So Parker really shouldn't have to do much shaming in his talks with legislators. Based on Pew's findings, what Parker wants is what an overwhelming majority of Americans want, too.

Watch: America's biggest gun problem is the one we don't talk about

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.