Multiple news outlets have reported on a story that claims Neil Heslin, the parents of a Newtown child who was murdered last month, was heckled during a public hearing on gun control at Connecticut’s legislative office building in Hartford.
After watching video of the hearing, in which 1,500 gun control advocates and gun rights advocates gathered to discuss whether assault rifles should be banned from the state, it appears clear that Heslin was not “heckled” or disrespected in any way.
In the video, viewers can see Heslin as he sits with a photo of his six-year-old son, Jesse, who was killed in the Dec. 14 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. While addressing the taskforce committee, Heslin reportedly asked the assembled gun owners “why such weapons should not be banned." He then goes on to suggest that "not one person can answer that question."
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The “heckling” in question is what came next, when gun-rights advocates yelled out, "the second amendment!" in response to Heslin’s statement. While the Newtown father acknowledged the interjection, with a turn of the head, he remained calm and kept on speaking.
Several other Newtown parents were present at the Hartford hearing, including one who is against additional gun laws as a response to the shooting.
The hearing held by the legislative subcommittee reviewing gun laws was the first public testimony by family members of those killed at Sandy Hook.
Members of the Connecticut State Police firearms training unit brought weapons to the hearing to provide state lawmakers with a short tutorial on what's legal and illegal under the state's current assault weapons ban, passed in 1993. The group of weapons included an AR-15, the same type of rifle that was used in the Sandy Hook shooting.
Metal detectors were installed at the entrance to the Legislative Office Building.