Various news outlets are reporting that Neil Heslin, father of a student killed in the Newtown shooting, was heckled by gun rights activists at a hearing in Connecticut.
Here is a sampling:
Neil Heslin, Father Of Newtown Victim, Heckled By Pro-Gun Activists
But as he gave his emotional testimony, pleading with lawmakers to improve mental health options and to ban assault weapons like the one Adam Lanza used to murder his child and 25 other people, his speech was interrupted by dozens of audience members, The Connecticut Post reported.
“I still can’t see why any civilian, anybody in this room in fact, needs weapons of that sort. You’re not going to use them for hunting, even for home protection,” Heslin said.
Pro-gun activists responded by calling out: “Second Amendment!”
Newtown father heckled, gun activists shout ‘Second Amendment!’
Despite the pain this man was going through and the courage he showed to stand up for what he believed in when it came to mental health options and banning assault weapons, the Newton father was heckled by those shouting “Second Amendment!.” He was interrupted as he talked about his views.
Videos of this “heckling” have appeared on Youtube. Note how the moments which immediately proceed the supposed heckling have been edited out.
Gun activists heckle Sandy Hook father
However when we go to the 13:30 mark in the video of Neil Heslin’s full testimony below we see that Heslin was not interrupted but rather turned to the spectators and asked them a question.
“Is there anybody in this room that can give me one reason or challenge this question why anybody in this room needs to have one of these assault style weapons or military weapons or high capacity clips?” Heslin asks. He glances over his left shoulder toward the spectators, pauses for five seconds during which no one responds and then he continues, “And not one person can answer that question or give me an answer.” As he speaks those words Heslin turns and looks at the spectators over his right shoulder. It is at that point that several people say, “The Second Amendment shall not be infringed.” None of the spectators speak in a tone which can be characterized as shouting nor can anyone be said to have interrupted Heslin as he had directly queried those in attendance and quite literally looked to them for an answer.
Neil Heslin’s full testimony
We can only ask ourselves why media outlets and citizen disarmament activists would characterize this as heckling a bereaved father. If no one had answered Heslin’s repeated questions I suppose that we would have been treated to headlines such as “Gun Rights Activists Refuse to Answer Plea of Grieving Father.”