Fighting tears, the father of one of the first graders slain at Sandy Hook Elementary School is calling on the the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to ban assault weapons. Neil Heslin yesterday urged lawmakers to consider the prohibition for his son, Jesse, who was 6 years old.
He said no person should have to go through what he's going through or what the town of Newtown is dealing with. Heslin, a 50-year-old construction worker, said he supports the right to bear arms, and backs sportsmen. But he noted that the Second Amendment wasn't written about today's assault weapons, they had muskets and cannons. He says the Second Amendment hasn't been well regulated and it needs to be.
Danbury Hospital Emergency Room Director William Begg also testified yesterday. He said countries with strong gun control measures lower the chance of gun deaths.
"The damage caused by an assault rifle compared to a handgun is horrific . And many of those folks don't even show up in my E.R. because the injuries are so bad, there's nothing salvageable."
Begg was on duty December 14th and said tearfully that banning assault weapons would have made a difference.
"To the families, whose loved ones actually made it to the E.R., we all tried our best."
Begg received applause when he called the massacre in Newtown a tipping point and called on the Senate to make the right decision.
"People say the overall number of assault weapon deaths is relatively small, but please don't tell that to the people of Tucson or Aurora or Columbine or Virginia Tech, and don't tell that to the people of Newtown."
Heslin says it’s all about Jesse, that being in the national spotlight is a burden on him, but he has to do it for his little boy. He described that Friday morning.
"It was 9:04 when I dropped Jesse off. Jesse gave me a hug and a kiss, said goodbye 'I love you'. He stopped and said 'I love mom too'. That was the last I saw of Jesse. ...I can still feel that hug and pat on the back. He said 'everything's going to be ok, everything's going to be ok'. And it wasn't."
Jesse was hit by one bullet grazing the side of his head, another hitting his forehead. In his prepared Senate testimony, Heslin said he’s been told the last thing his son did was look Adam Lanza straight in the face and scream to his classmates to run. He added that the last thing Jesse saw "was the coward’s eyes".
Heslin also told the Senate committee about the night of December 14th.
"I waited in that firehouse until 1 o'clock in the morning...til I knew Jesse was confirmed dead."
Heslin teared up again saying the day his son was born was the happiest day of his life and December 14th was the worst day of his life.