The cold-blooded murder of 20 first graders in Newtown, Conn., sent a chill through every home in America and changed, as nothing else could, the national debate over gun violence.
Today, the Senate heard testimony on a bill that would ban assault weapons, including the AR-15, the gun that was used at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Among the first witnesses was Neil Heslin, a still-grieving father.
“I’m Jesse Lewis’ dad,” he said in between tears. “Jesse was brutally murdered at Sandy Hook School on Dec 14th, 20 minutes after I dropped him off.”
Heslin clutched a framed photo of his son as he tried to put words to his sense of loss.
“Jesse was the love of my life. He was the only family that I have left.”
The audience, filled with Newtown families, wept. And so did some lawmakers as Heslin begged them to ban the kind of weapon used to kill his son.
“That’s a dangerous weapon and anybody who can deny or argue that isn’t being honest,” he said.
California Democrat Dianne Feinstein, who introduced the bill to ban assault weapons, showed footage of what she objects to: Rapid gun fire, “still legal today.”
Newtown doctor William Begg described the carnage he saw.