“He was my son, he was my buddy, he was my best friend,” testified Neil Heslin, whose six-year-old son, Jesse Lewis, was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in December before a Connecticut gun violence prevention hearing Monday. “And I never thought I’d be speaking like this and asking for changes on my son’s behalf. He’s my only son, he’s my only family.”
“We’re not living in the Wild Wild West, we have the strongest military in the world we’re not living in a third world,” Heslin said. “We don’t need to defend our homes with weapons like that. I just hope everyone in this room can support change—ban assault weapons and high capacity clips and magazines. That’s a step in the right direction.”
Heslin asked why anyone needs assault weapons and high capacity magazines. Gun rights activists replied, “Our rights will not be infringed!” and “Second Amendment!” Local news sources reported that there were nearly a dozen hecklers, who were quickly silenced.
Heslin’s son, Jesse Lewis, died after trying to flee the gunman with other students.
“Jesse died bravely trying to lead other children to safety. He ran into the hallway to help when he heard the shots. In our hearts we already knew because that was the way he lived his life—fearless, full of courage and strength,” his family said in a Legacy.com obituary.
Editor’s note: This story has been amended from the original version to clarify the context of the remarks; the original video has been replaced with a fuller version.