Newtown dad Neil Heslin has been one of the few Sandy Hook parents to speak publicly since the massacre in Connecticut resulted in the deaths of 20 children and six educators, and the father of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis has pled for a reconsideration of gun laws following the child’s murder.
Neil Heslin has spoken before at the Sandy Hook Commission, held to examine the horrific shootings from every angle and determine which measures to take in the future to protect schoolchildren from such an event.
Speaking before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Heslin spoke of his only child and the loss of Jesse emotionally, saying that each day since the massacre has been a living nightmare.
The grieving dad sobbed as he told lawmakers about how Jesse’s death had altered Heslin’s life, and he began:
“Jesse was the love of my life … He was the only family I had left. It’s hard for me to be here today to talk about my deceased son. I have to. I’m his voice.”
Heslin recalled how he’d taken Jesse for a breakfast sandwich, sausage, egg and cheese, before dropping him off shortly after 9 AM. Lewis mentioned his mother, from whom Heslin is separated, before saying good bye to his father for the last time:
“It was 9:04 when I dropped Jesse off. Jesse gave me a hug and a kiss and at that time said goodbye and love you. He stopped and said, I loved mom too … That was the last I saw of Jesse as he ducked around the corner. Prior to that when he was getting out of the truck he hugged me and held me and I could still feel that hug and pat on the back and he said everything’s going to be ok dad. It’s all going to be ok … It wasn’t ok. I have to go home at night to an empty house without my son.”
Along with Neil Heslin, Newtown local Dr. William Begg, who was on scene the day of the Sandy Hook massacre, also pled for a ban on assault weapons. He said, to a positive reception:
“People say that the overall number of assault weapon deaths is small but you know what? 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 in Newtown … Don’t tell that to the people in Newtown. This is a tipping point. This is a tipping point and this is a public health issue. Please make the right decision.”
While many have advocated for a ban on the weapons commonly described as assault weapons following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, the issue remains contentious in America today.