News & Politics

Father of Sandy Hook Victim Heckled by Gun Advocates

Neil Heislin, whose son Jesse was killed at Newtown Elementary School, gave testimony at the Connecticut General Assembly but was interrupted by gun advocates.

Photo Credit: Ron Frank /

The father of one of the young victims of the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown gave testimony last night at the Connecticut General Assembly, but was interrupted by gun advocates.

Neil Heislin, whose son Jesse was killed by Adam Lanza during the school shooting, was speaking to legislators to urge them to make changes to laws around guns. The teary father said “changes have to be made...The worst day of my life was the day when this happened...Why do we need 30-round magazines or cartridges?” Heislin also said that "the sole purpose of those AR-15s or AK-47s is to put a lot of lead out on the battlefield quickly, and that's what they do. And that's what they did at Sandy Hook Elementary School on the 14th."

The CT Mirror reports that when Heislin “wondered aloud how such guns [like the AR-15 and AK-47] could be privately owned, someone shouted, ‘The Second Amendment!’” BuzzFeed notes that The Connecticut Post “put the number of hecklers at ‘as many as a dozen.’”

The heckling came even as “Heslin spoke while holding a gilt-framed portrait of him and his son, taken when Jesse was a baby,” the CT Mirror notes.

Other Sandy Hook parents who lost their children in the massacre also spoke to Connecticut legislators. While Mark Mattioli said he saw no need for new gun laws, Veronique Pozner urged legislators to ban weapons like the semiautomatic Bushmaster rifle that Lanza used.

The New York Times reports that the hearing was “one of several scheduled by the legislature’s Bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety.” The CT legislature is looking to prepare bills on guns that could be passed by the end of February.

You can watch some of Heislin’s testimony here, courtesy of the Associated Press via Raw Story:


Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.