POLITICS
08/30/2015 01:42 pm ET Updated Aug 31, 2015

Father Of Slain Journalist: 'They Messed With The Wrong Family'

"I know that this is not a sprint. It's a marathon."

WASHINGTON -- The father of slain TV journalist Alison Parker said that NRA supporters and lawmakers who voted against passing stricter gun laws have "messed with the wrong family."

Andy Parker, speaking on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday, vowed to continue the push for stronger gun legislation and more in-depth background checks for those wanting to purchase weapons.

Parker's daughter was one of two journalists working for TV station WDBJ in Roanoke, Virginia, who were killed earlier this week by a disgruntled ex-employee of the station. Parker has since made the rounds on TV shows, calling politicians "cowards" for failing to pass gun legislation. 

"What I would like for everyone to know and to keep in mind is, you know -- just don't be desensitized to this issue," Parker said. "And don't go, 'Oh, gee, this is another horrific incident, what's for dinner tonight, honey?'"

Parker said he fears the public will forget his daughter's story, which is why he plans to "hold politicians' feet to the fire."

"I just want people to know that I'm going to be working on this for a long time," he said. "I know that this is not a sprint. It's a marathon." 

Parker expressed some frustration with questions that echoed comments made by Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, putting the blame on mental health access rather than gun laws.

"I have been asked by several media outlets, you know, well, Trump says 'this is not a gun issue, it's a mental health issue,'" Parker said. "Well, he's half-right. It is a mental health issue. But there's a linkage there between guns and mental health, and there's got to be some kind of protocol established, so that we keep people from getting guns."

Unlike after the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, and Aurora, Colorado, Parker hopes this time results in the passage of gun legislation. He plans to visit Washington to meet with Mark Kelly, husband to former congresswoman Gabby Giffords (D), who was gravely injured in a mass shooting in Arizona in 2011.

Parker has also talked with Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) who promised to help in any way possible, as well as former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, he added.

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