Father of shooting victim criticizes Goodlatte

The televised shooting deaths of Alison Parker and her colleague last week have launched her father on what he describes as a lifelong crusade against gun violence, a crusade that has led him to take an early swipe at U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke.

In a column appearing Monday in the Washington Post, Andy Parker, who lives near Martinsville, criticized Goodlatte and two state lawmakers from the Roanoke area for supporting easier access to guns and opposing proposals for limiting the spread of firearms.

“In more than two years as chairman of the Judiciary Committee,” Parker wrote, “Goodlatte has had plenty of opportunity to bring up universal background check legislation and other gun violence prevention bills. He has refused to lead on this issue, and he has done absolutely nothing to help contain the carnage we are seeing. On the other hand, Goodlatte had no problem cashing his check from the National Rifle Association during the 2014 election cycle. Shame on him.”

Parker also criticized Sens. John S. Edwards, D-Roanoke, and William M. Stanley Jr., R-Franklin, for voting against a bill in the General Assembly that would have allowed family members or law enforcement officials to ask a judge for authority to temporarily remove firearms from those deemed to be having a mental health crisis.

Parker and Adam Ward died after a disgruntled former colleague opened fire on them while they were doing a live television report. The shooter, Vester L. Flanagan II, fled from the scene and was traveling east on Interstate 66 through Warren and Fauquier counties when a state trooper tried to stop him. Flanagan’s car ran off the road, and he was found inside with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead later in the afternoon.

Asked to comment on Parker’s column, Goodlatte replied with a brief email message: “My heart aches for victims’ families and friends who suffered an unfathomable loss last week. I join them and others in wanting to see an end to violence and protect our communities from harm. I will continue to examine our laws to determine if there are ways that would be effective to prevent tragic crimes of violence while also respecting citizens’ constitutional rights.”

The website On The Issues lists Goodlatte as receiving an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association for a pro-gun rights voting record. His votes include support of the right for a person who has a valid concealed carry permit in one state to carry a concealed firearm to another state if federal law does not prohibit the permit holder from a carrying a gun.

The website also shows Goodlatte voted for legislation that would decrease the waiting period from three days to one for background checks conducted on firearms purchased at gun shows.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com