, the father of a six-year-old boy who was slain in the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, holds a picture of himself with his
son Jesse and wipes his
eye while testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, before the Senate Judiciary Committee
on the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
WASHINGTON (AP) - Battling tears, the father of one of the first-graders slain at the December elementary school massacre in Connecticut pleaded with senators on Wednesday to ban assault weapons like the gun that killed his
"I'm not here for sympathy," Neil Heslin, a 50-year-old construction worker who said he grew up with guns and had been teaching his son, Jesse, about them.
"I'm here because of my son."
spoke for 11 minutes, his
voice barely audible and breaking at times, to the Senate Judiciary Committee
that is deeply divided over the issue of curbing guns.
supports sportsmen and the Second Amendment right for citizens to have firearms.
said that amendment was written centuries before weapons as deadly as assault weapons were invented.
"No person should have to go through what myself" and other victims' families have had to endure, Heslin
told the lawmakers.
recalled the morning of Dec. 14, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster assault weapon to kill 20 first-graders and six staffers at the Sandy Hook Elementary school
in Newtown, Conn.
said it's all going to be OK," Heslin
son told him when he
dropped him off at school.
added, "And it wasn't OK."
Despite Newtown and other mass shootings, the bruising, difficult path through Congress that gun control legislation faces was underscored Wednesday when the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said he
opposes universal background checks for gun purchases, a central piece of President Barack Obama's plan for curbing gun violence.