A six year-old victim of the Sandy Hook massacre was remembered by his grieving father on Monday, Jan. 29, when Neil Heslin testified at a legislative hearing. It was a public hearing of the Bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety.
During his testimony and emotional pleas, Heslin spoke about his son Jesse and then was heckled by gun advocates. Heslin wants a ban on assault weapons and the angry gun advocates believe the Second Amendment should not be altered in any way.
Heslin was speaking to Connecticut lawmakers about needed changed to the state’s laws on assault weapons. As Neil Heslin testified, his voice was choked up and strained with the emotional grief over the loss of his son.
Heslin said, “Changes have to be made. I’ll tell you a little bit about Jesse.”
“He was a boy that loved life, lived it to the fullest. His mother and I are separated. He spent equal time with both of us.”
“He was my son, he was my buddy, he was my best friend, and I never thought I would be here speaking like this, asking for changes on my son’s behalf.”
“And I never thought I would be laying him to rest. The happiest day of my life was the day he was born.”
“He is my only son, my only family. The worst day of my life was the day when this happened.”
At one point, Heslin asked “why anyone off the battlefield would need a gun capable of killing so many, so quickly.” In what is an extreme lack of respect, someone in the audience yelled out.
The angry gun advocate yelled, “The second amendment.” Heslin responded that he respected the heckler’s opinion but that he wished “they’d respect mine.”
Heslin said, “We’re all entitled to our own opinions and I respect their opinions and their thoughts. But I wish they’d respect mine and give it a little bit of thought.”
Of the massacre in Newtown, CT that took his son’s life, Neil Heslin said, “That wasn’t just a killing. That was a massacre.”
“Those children and those victims were shot apart. And my son was one of them.”’
Another parent of a Sandy Hook victim, Mark Mattioli who lost his six year-old son, stated, “I believe in a few simple gun laws. I think we have more than enough on the books. We should hold people individually accountable for their actions.
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