Speaking last night to Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, the father of slain WDBJ reporter Alison Parker in Virginia vowed to make it his life’s mission to close “the loopholes in background checks” so that “crazy people” cannot get their hands on firearms.
While the entire nation was horrified – including millions of law-abiding gun owners – at the on-air murders of Parker and cameraman Adam Ward on Wednesday during a live interview, Second Amendment activists are preparing for a new gun control battle. Alleged gunman Vester Lee Flanagan, who used the on-air name of Bryce Williams, legally bought the gun he apparently used, according to ABC News, which noted that he had “no known criminal record.”
Andy Parker, Alison’s father, told Kelly forcefully, “My mission in life, and I talked to the governor today, he called me, and I told him, I said 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. He said ‘You go, I’m right there with you. So, this is not the last you’ve heard of me.”
Parker is understandably heartbroken, distraught and angry. What father wouldn’t be? His daughter had been murdered on live television; robbed of her life at age 24. There could not have been a dry eye among viewers, including gun owners, who watched last night’s interview.
But there is a dilemma of monumental proportions in that the shooter, who took his own life hours after the double slaying, evidently went through a background check when he bought the gun at a Virginia gun store. As CBS News reported, he bought two guns on July 10. Keep that in perspective because it is obvious that those who have weighed in to push a political gun control agenda haven’t been. The White House, Hillary Clinton and others are already pushing for more gun regulation.
Other sensational killers have cleared background checks, including James Holmes, the Aurora movie theater gunman who was sentenced yesterday in Colorado to 12 life terms plus 3,318 years in prison. Elliot Rodger, the Santa Barbara spree killer, passed three background checks. Aaron Alexis, the Navy Yard killer, passed a check, as did Naveed Haq, the Seattle Jewish Federation gunman.
At some point, the gun prohibition lobby must acknowledge the reality that background checks are not a panacea, though that intimation is sold to voters and liberal politicians. It worked last fall in Washington, and this past winter in Oregon. But people are still dying in both states.
Without a criminal record, to what benchmark should people rise in order to exercise a fundamental, constitutionally-affirmed civil right? Will firearms retailers and law enforcement agencies be required to exercise clairvoyance, and predict what crime someone might commit in six weeks, six months or even six years down the road?
Maybe gun control fanatics watched “Minority Report” too many times on video. That’s the 2002 Tom Cruise film about a government program designed to predict crimes not yet committed.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe was talking about background checks yesterday even before the gunman was apprehended, as though this guy had obtained the murder weapon via some unregulated method. Perhaps he should now be admitting those remarks were completely off base.
If, as ABC News reported, the elder Parker wants “stronger mental health screenings for prospective gun owners,” how does that square with the exercise of a civil right? In the case of the alleged gunman, perhaps a mental health screening should be required for anyone seeking a job in journalism, eh?
Who would determine whether someone is “mentally fit” to own a firearm? What would be the criteria? Is this just another sky-is-the-limit attempt to erode the right to keep and bear arms, by turning it into a heavily-regulated government privilege that would ultimately exist only on paper?
The nation sympathizes with Andy Parker and the friends and families of both slain broadcast journalists. But Second Amendment advocates will note that compassion should never cloud common sense. Existing gun laws, and laws against murder, didn’t prevent what happened yesterday in Virginia. Activists argue that adding stringent new requirements that penalize law-abiding citizens for a heinous crime they didn’t commit will not keep it from happening again.
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