Today the Senate Judiciary Committee heard emotive testimony from the father of a Newtown victim.
Neil Heslin wept as he described how his 6-year-old son Jesse "was brutally murdered at Sandy Hook school...20 minutes after I dropped him off.""Jesse was the love of my life," Heslin said. "He was the only family I have left. It's hard for me to be here today, talking about my deceased son. [But] I have to. I'm his voice. I'm not here for the sympathy...I'm here to speak up for my son." Heslin, a 50-year-old construction worker, called on Congress to pass new laws:
There's many changes that have to happen to make a change effective. Mental health issues, better background checks, bans on these weapons, bans on high capacity magazines - they all have to come together and they all have to work effectively...common sense tells you that.
Heslin spoke during hearings focused on Sen. Diane Feinstein's bill banning sales of new assault rifles and magazines holding more than 10 rounds. Weapons that already exist would be unaffected by the ban.
Dr. William Begg, an ER medic who treated some Newtown casualties, also spoke at the hearing. "They had such horrific injuries to their little bodies," he said of the victims. Families bereaved by the shootings at Newtown, Aurora, and Virginia Tech were in the audience.
Former Rep. Sandy Adams, R-FL, once a law enforcer, argued that lawmakers should not be swayed by emotion. She said "it is not the time for feel-good legislation so you can say you did something."