Sarah Palin Parents Discuss Threats, Say They Sleep with Guns

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin speaks at a dinner celebrating former U.S. president Ronald Reagan on the centennial of his birth, at the Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara, California on February 4, 2011. The dinner was hosted by the Young Americas Foundation (YAF). Reagan, who died in 2004 at the age of 93, would have been 100 years old on February 6.  UPI/Jim Ruymen

Sarah Palin's parents say their family has faced death threats since she rose to prominence and that they sleep with guns as a precaution.

In an interview with BBC's "Newsnight," which examined the former Alaska governor's possible 2012 presidential bid, Chuck and Sally Heath said they fear for their daughter's safety.

"As a mother I do have concerns about her safety and that of the kids... she knows how I feel, that it's risky," Sally Heath, the former vice presidential candidate's mother, told Jackie Long of the BBC.

"A good example is one guy from Pennsylvania," said Chuck Heath, Palin's father. "He sent us and other people copies of a gun hed bought, copies of a receipt for a gun he bought, copies of a one-way ticket to Anchorage. We kind of laugh it off, we got a restraining order on him, and lo and behold last week he showed up in Anchorage, from Pennsylvania, and fortunately the FBI was on top of it and sent him home."

"We sleep with the guns," Palin's father said in the interview.

Palin dismissed the threats against her family, saying, "Our family is pretty thick-skinned."

"For the last 20 years in political office our family has put up with a lot of flak," she said. "We're still standing and we're doing well, so we're not worried too much about the pressure."

Palin also said that if she were to enter the 2012 race, it would be as a serious candidate. She said voters' receptiveness would factor in her decision.

"And just the idea of whether the American electorate is ready for someone a bit unconventional, who is willing to tell it as she sees it, not be beholden to special interest or such obsessive partisanship as to let a political machine get in the way of doing what's right for the voters," Palin said.

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