(WASHINGTON) — A father who lost his son in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary last year broke down in tears while presenting in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
Neil Heslin, whose son Jesse Lewis was murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary in December 2012, visibly sobbed two times while talking about his son.
“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 said as he broke down in tears.
Heslin recounted his last moments with his son when he took him to pick up his favorite sausage egg and cheese sandwich and hot chocolate before dropping him off at school on the morning of December 14.
“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,” Heslin said.
“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,” Heslin said breaking down in tears a second time. “It wasn’t ok. I have to go home at night to an empty house without my son.”
Heslin praised the assault weapons ban proposed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein and argued that it does not threaten the rights of gun owners.
“It’s not about taking weapons from the owners. It’s putting a ban on the manufacturing and curbing the sale of them. It’s not hurting the sportsman, it’s not hurting the gun owners now,” Heslin said.
Dr. William Begg, who was one of the physicians present in the emergency room on the day of the deadly shooting, told families physicians and nurses tried their best to save their children and advocated on behalf of an assault weapons ban, stronger background check system, and an investment in research for mental health.
“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,” Begg said as he choked up and people in the crowd clapped. “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.”
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