Father of Slain Journalist Alison Parker, Discusses New Book on Gun Safety

4 min read Andy Parker, who has been advocating for gun law reform since his daughter’s murder, appeared at a Radford City Democrats meeting for a book signing event Thursday.

Andy Parker

Andy Parker's life changed in 2015 with the murder of his daughter. Four years later he channels his grief into his advocac. He has appeared on various news outlets to support gun reformr; Photo Credit: (Jeremy Moser | The Tartan)

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By: Jeremy Moser | jmoser9@radford.edu

Andy Parker, who has been advocating for gun law reform since his daughter Alison Parker’s murder, appeared at a Radford City Democrats meeting for a book signing event Thursday.

It has been four years since Alison Parker and Adam Ward were gun-downed on live T.V., at the Smith Mountain Lake Mariane in Moneta, VA. The grieving father has since become a strong advocate for gun control. 

In March, he published a book titled “For Alison: The Murder of a Young Journalist and a Father’s Fight for Gun Safety.”

Parker’s presentation rounded out the meeting. He stood at a podium and on a projector screen showed many images of his daughter.

“I’m Alison’s dad,” he began. “I wish there had never been a reason for me to write this book,” he told the crowd, gripping the podium and bracing for memories he wishes he could forget. “I’d rather be at home watching Alison do the news.”

Andy Parker
Parker was only able to bring eight copies of his book, but that turned out to be just enough.

It was a solemn subject, but Parker did not dwell on the bad. A great deal of his presentation was focused on the things gun control advocates have accomplished and what he believes still needs to be done.

“When I mention the accomplishments we’ve done and Chris [Hurst] being elected, that for whatever reason, it just gets me, cause I’m so proud of him,” he said.

Parker has revisited the topic several times before in other places, but he said the repetition had not made those memories any less painful. “It doesn’t seem to get any easier,” he said in an interview after the presentation.

“He’s working for sensible gun safety,” Bernath said. “Control, of course, is sort of a loaded word. People think [gun] control means ‘Oh, you’re gonna take away my guns,” but not many people disagree that we all need to be safe from gun violence. It’s a safety issue.”On his website, andysfight.com he lists his position as “reasonable regulation of the second amendment.” His specific goals include bans of “assault-style” weapons, limiting magazine capacity and closing gun show loopholes.

Parker has also been involved in legal battles involving the video of Alison and Adam’s murder being hosted on websites like YouTube. He has publicly advocated for the revision of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which Google and YouTube argued did not legally require them to remove the content.

For Parker, writing this book and doing activism has also been his grieving process.

“Some people, like Adam Ward’s family, they pretty much withdrew, and I get that, you know,” He said. “For me, it was either a choice of curling up on the couch in a fetal position, sleeping or taking drugs or drinking myself to death, but my grieving process was to get pissed off and try and do something.”

Andy Parker
While the subject matter was harsh, and the memories were painful, Parker brought life and levity to the room.

Larry Bernath, the Executive Vice-Chair of the Radford City Democrats, said that Parker’s views on gun reform align well with the party’s goals, but believes “gun control” is not the right term.

“He’s working for sensible gun safety,” Bernath said. “Control, of course, is sort of a loaded word. People think [gun] control means ‘Oh, you’re gonna take away my guns,” but not many people disagree that we all need to be safe from gun violence. It’s a safety issue.”

The Parker family’s efforts extend beyond political activism. The thing Parker wants people to take away from his story is that Alison was “a wonderful human being who happened to be [his] daughter.”

“Above and beyond my advocacy for gun control and cleaning up Google, I just want people to know that she was a kind soul,” he said in the interview. “The person that you saw on camera was that same person she was off-camera.”

The For Alison Foundation builds off of Alison’s love for the arts. The non-profit promotes participation in the arts by less-fortunate students. They have a ballet school scholarship, helping young students go to a musical summer camp and funding dance lessons for elementary schools.

For more Radford News, about both the city and the university, stay updated with the Tartan, your student-made newspaper.

Photo Credit: (Jeremy Moser | The Tartan)

Featured Image: Andy Parker’s life changed in 2015 with the murder of his daughter. Four years later he channels his grief into his advocacy. He has appeared on various news outlets to support gun reform; Photo Credit: (Jeremy Moser | The Tartan).