Sarah Palin's parents say they fear for her safety

From left, Track, Piper, Willow, Bristol, Sarah, Trig, Trip and Todd Palin.
TLC/Gilles Mingasson
Sarah Palin
From left, Track, Piper, Willow, Bristol, Sarah, Trig, Trip and Todd Palin.
TLC/Gilles Mingasson

Updated: 1:22PM ET

Sarah Palin's parents said they fear for the safety of their daughter and her family, and that they sleep with guns as a precaution, the BBC reports.

In a recent interview with BBC's "Newsnight," which explored the former Republican vice presidential nominee's prospective presidential bid for 2012, her parents Chuck and Sally Heath spoke about threats against the family.

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"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 told the network.

Citing a recent incident in which a man from Pennsylvania reportedly sent the family and others copies of the receipt of a gun he had purchased, as well as that of a one-way ticket to Anchorage, Chuck Heath said the family had legitimate safety concerns.

"We kind of laughed it off, we got a restraining order on him," Heath said of the incident, but added that "lo and behold, last week he showed up in Anchorage." He went on to say that the man had been arrested. (Some UK papers have also stated that 19-year-old Shawn Christy, a man who fits a similar profile to the man Palin's father described, has been arrested in Alaska -- but the FBI told Politico the Anchorage FBI "has not arrested or had any contact with Mr. Christy.")

"We sleep with the guns," Palin's father told BBC's Jackie Long.

Palin downplayed the seriousness of threats against them in the interview, emphasizing that "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 decided to enter the 2012 presidential race, it would be as a serious candidate.

"You run the race to win the race. That's for sure," she said.

She said that money, as well as her perceived sense of Americans' openness to her candidacy, would ultimately factor in to her decision.

"Obama has already said he's going to spend a billion dollars on this race, so money is certainly going to be a consideration," she said. 

"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.