Sandy Hook parent Neil Heslin has been smeared in a vicious attack by a Connecticut gun advocacy group, and Connecticut Carry slammed the grieving father in a a lengthy statement issued earlier this week.
Neil Heslin’s son Jesse Lewis was one of Newtown’s child victims, killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook in December.
Heslin’s testimony months later was heart-wrenching, as he recalled his last moments with Jesse and lamented the loss of the child he called his only family — apparently motivation enough to prompt the Connecticut Carry smear.
Heslin had said:
“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.”
He also testified:
“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.”
Heslin may be a grief-stricken parent coping with the loss of his only child, but Connecticut Carry had no qualms about attacking the hell out of him for past sins in a news release, suggesting that prior arrests and a possible foreclosure make a man whose son was shot unqualified to claim gun violence causes people pain.
In the press release, the group alleges:
“The article by News Times failed to report the fact that records from the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection show a long history of criminal behavior and that Neil Heslin is a felon. All of which means that Neil Heslin is not allowed per State and Federal law to purchase, own or possess any firearms. So often we find that the strongest critics of the right to bear arms are those people who cannot be trusted with firearms themselves.”
After discussing the evils of drunk driving, the pro-gun group goes on to ad hominem:
“Another major issue left out of the reporting so far has been Heslin’s financial and civil issues. He has been sued several times for not paying his bills through his businesses and for not paying child support as well. Now, Mr. Heslin has found the employment he has needed for so long lobbying against the rights of the citizens of Connecticut and the rest of the country as well.”
Connecticut Carry adds:
“While we all, as humans, share in the sorrow and outrage of Mr. Heslin’s tragic loss, as well as everyone who lost someone on that terrible day; we don’t all have to feel ok with Mr. Heslin profiting off of the tragedy and hurting the gun owning, law abiding citizens who did nothing wrong that day.”
It is not clear whether CT Carry’s claim that Sandy Hook dad Neil Heslin is “profiting” from his son’s death in any way bears out, but regardless of his past actions, it seems Heslin is tragically more than qualified to speak to the need for gun reforms.