Gov. McAuliffe: WDBJ deaths show greater need for universal background checks

Gov. McAuliffe: WDBJ deaths show greater need for universal background checks
Alison Parker and Adam Ward were killed by a gunman during a live TV interview on Wednesday (Souce: WDBJ7)

ROANOKE, VA (WWBT) - Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe made comments to the media following a visit to WDBJ-TV in Roanoke on Friday.

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The governor said the shootings point to a need for more gun control laws in the Commonwealth.

"Dorothy and I have five children, a daughter the same age as Alison, and it just is so senseless. And I just want to remind everybody that we're going to do everything we possibly can to keep everyone safe," said McAuliffe.

McAuliffe talked to the WDBJ staff in private to share his condolences. He says he had a conversation with Chris Hurst and that words can't describe Chris' feelings.

"[Chris Hurst said] he is going to do as Alison would want him to do: to fight to make our community safer. He wants to be a very vocal advocate for universal background checks," said McAuliffe. "This is something I've advocated and talked about every single day."

Governor McAuliffe also met with Andy Parker, reporter Alison Parker's father.  Both men now calling for reasonable gun control and for universal background checks.

"There are too many guns in America, and there's clearly too many guns in the wrong hands, so we are going to continue to do what we can," says McAuliffe.

But not all local gun store owners we talked to agree with governor.

"Everybody keeps saying 'Ban the gun.' If they can't get a gun, it's going to be something else," Bob Moates Sport Shop owner Richard Hill told NBC12 in a past interview.  "They've still not dealt with the real problem. The mental health problem."

"We're not trying to take people's guns away, all we want to do is keep crazy people from getting guns," says Andy Parker.

Investigators say Vester Flanagan, the shooter who gunned down Alison Parker and photojournalist Adam Ward, purchased the gun legally.  But Parker says there is more that can be done to stop this in the future.  He says he's calling out politicians to make changes and is calling out the NRA.

The NRA posted on Twitter that overall violent crime has been down since 1991.

It will take time for any change for happen. For now, this father will need to say goodbye to his daughter. He says Alison's ashes will be spread at the the Nantahala River in North Carolina, a place she loved.

"It was one of the places that she thought she and Chris were going to get married, so at some point we're going to go down there with her ashes. That's where she would want to be, in the river," says Parker.

Station General Manager Jeffrey Marks says he plans to ask the governor about mental health issues, reports the AP.

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