Newtown Dad 'Heckled' at Gun Hearing

Parents disagree over assault weapons ban

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 29, 2013 11:20 AM CST | Updated Jan 29, 2013 3:00 PM CST

(Newser) – The father of a 6-year-old killed in the Sandy Hook shooting took his case for gun control to authorities in Connecticut last night, asking during a public hearing whether anyone in the room could tell him why private citizens should be allowed to own semi-automatics. Neil Heslin paused for a response, and when none came, he declared, "Not one person can answer the question." At that point, audience members began shouting things like, the "Second Amendment shall not be infringed," and officials running the meeting called for order. The exchange prompted a lot of headlines asserting that the father had gotten "heckled," from the likes of Raw Story, the Huffington Post, New York Daily News, and, yes, Newser. But the right-wing Twitchy thinks the "kneejerk media" distorted what happened—with initial reports glossing over the fact that Heslin asked for a response—to "gin up outrage" against guns. (It released a video of the full exchange, which is in the gallery.)

Another Newtown parent, Veronique Pozner, urged an assault weapons ban during the hearing. A third parent, however, disagreed, the Connecticut Mirror reports. "I believe in a few simple gun laws. I think we have more than enough on the books," said Mark Mattioli, father of James, another 6-year-old victim. "I don't care if you named it James' Law. I don't want it." Meanwhile, police discussed their reaction to the shooting.

Neil Heslin, holding a picture of himself with his son Jesse, testifies at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, Conn., Monday, Jan. 28, 2013
Neil Heslin, holding a picture of himself with his son Jesse, testifies at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, Conn., Monday, Jan. 28, 2013   (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
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The relevant part starts about the 15-minute mark.   (Twitchy)

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