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Gun rights advocates heckle father of 6-year-old Newtown victim at Connecticut hearing

HARTFORD, Conn. — Parents of children killed in the Newtown school shooting called for better enforcement of gun laws and tougher penalties for violators Monday at a hearing that revealed the divide in the gun-control debate, with advocates for gun rights shouting at the father of one 6-year-old victim.

Neil Heslin, whose son Jesse was killed in last month's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, asked people in the room to put themselves in his position as he questioned the need for any civilian to own semiautomatic, military-style weapons.

"It's not a good feeling. Not a good feeling to look at your child laying in a casket or looking at your child with a bullet wound to the forehead. It's a real sad thing," said Heslin, who held up a large framed photograph of himself and his son.

A handful of people at the packed legislative hearing then shouted about their Second Amendment rights when Heslin asked if anyone could provide a reason for a civilian to own an assault-style weapon.

"We're all entitled to our own opinions and I respect their opinions and their thoughts," Heslin said. "But I wish they'd respect mind and give it a little bit of thought."

The hearing by a legislative subcommittee reviewing gun laws offered the first public testimony by family members of those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary, where a gunman slaughtered 20 first-grade children and six women. Adam Lanza had killed his mother in their home across town and then drove to the school to carry out the shooting before committing suicide.

Many gun rights advocates, wearing yellow stickers that read: "Another Responsible Gun Owner," were among the estimated 2,000 people at the hearing. Metal detectors were installed at the entrance to the Legislative Office Building, and some people waited as long as two hours to get into the building in Hartford.

Many spoke about the need to protect their rights and their families' safety.

"The Second Amendment does not protect our right to hunt deer," said Andrew Hesse of Middletown. "It protects our right to self-preservation and preservation of our family. The right to bear arms."

Elizabeth Drysdale, a single mother from Waterbury, spoke of three recent incidents that caused her to fear for her safety. She said she should be able to choose the size of magazine and type of firearm to defend herself.

"Don't my children and I deserve your support and consideration to be safe," she asked lawmakers.

Judy Aron of West Hartford said bills such as those requiring gun owners to have liability insurance and ammunition taxes only harm lawful gun owners.

"Every gun owner did not pull the trigger that was pulled by Adam Lanza, she said.

The state's gun manufacturers, meanwhile, urged the subcommittee to not support legislation that could put the state's historic gun manufacturing industry at risk.

Mark Mattioli, whose 6-year-old son James was killed at Sandy Hook, got a standing ovation when he said there are plenty of gun laws but they're not properly enforced. He urged lawmakers to address the culture of violence.

"It's a simple concept. We need civility across our nation," he said. "What we're seeing are symptoms of a bigger problem. This is a symptom. The problem is not gun laws. The problem is a lack of civility."

Two Southbury natives who survived a mass shooting last year at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., urged lawmakers to address online, private guns sales that don't require background checks. Stephen Barton and Ethan Rodriguez-Torrent also want to require background checks for purchases of so-called long guns and not just handguns.

State Rep. Arthur O'Neill, R-Southbury, who has known Rodriguez-Torrent since he was a child, predicted state lawmakers will reach a compromise on guns.

He said lawmakers' minds have changed since the Dec. 14 school massacre.

"Dec. 13 was one way of looking at the world, and Dec. 15 is a different way of looking at the world," he said.

by Stay classy, gun nutsreply 1601/29/2013

Out-of-control psychos. People like that are destroying the US. What's left of it.

by Stay classy, gun nutsreply 101/29/2013

Scumbags.

by Stay classy, gun nutsreply 201/29/2013

Funny how are the gun nuts forget the first part of the 2nd ammendment:

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Are they members of a well regulated militia?

by Stay classy, gun nutsreply 301/29/2013

How is requiring gun liability insurance going to be a "bad thing" for a responsible gun owner?

by Stay classy, gun nutsreply 401/29/2013

I am so sick of this. A total distortion of te 2nd amendment which was written to get votes from southern slave states and their militias. The Southern militias were set up to watch over the slaves and stem revolt. The whole southern economy was built upon slaves therefore they were protecting their economy and wealth too. It is totally outdated and racist amendment!

by Stay classy, gun nutsreply 501/29/2013

There's something seriously wrong with idiots who obsess over gun ownership.

Jesus Christ, talk about no life.

by Stay classy, gun nutsreply 601/29/2013

R3 - although I support the President's gun control proposals and think that they are well within the realms of constitutionality, the Second Amendment clearly states, "the right of [bold]the people[/bold] to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed," not the right of the militia. The Supreme Court has already ruled that the Second Amendment guarantees individuals the right to own and carry guns, so your point is moot.

by Stay classy, gun nutsreply 701/29/2013

Then you are well within your rights to own a musket, r7.

Is no one else surprised that the NY Daily News has an article that is so pro gun control? And is offering a petition for new gun control laws? Shocks the hell out of me.

by Stay classy, gun nutsreply 801/29/2013

Antenna TV showed a 40-year-old episode of All in the Family last night that revolved around Mike and Archie arguing over gun control and what the 2nd Amendment really says. Some things never change.

by Stay classy, gun nutsreply 901/29/2013

I truly cannot think of anything more despicable

by Stay classy, gun nutsreply 1001/29/2013

I like the cut of their jib.

by Stay classy, gun nutsreply 1101/29/2013

What was really telling for me was the NRA's argument about "absolutes". I think that is the real issue, not the guns. These people can only think in absolutes- black and white. Guns are the one absolute they have left. Marriage, homosexuality, gender roles, education, etc are now numerous shades of grey and they cannot deal with it.

by Stay classy, gun nutsreply 1201/29/2013

Your right to swing your fist ends where my face begins. I think those of us who choose not to own guns have a right to be safe from those who do.

by Stay classy, gun nutsreply 1301/29/2013

I'm not really surprised, R7. The Daily News is not a fascist rag like the Post. After Virginia Tech, they ran a piece called "Still Love Those Guns, Virginia?"

by Stay classy, gun nutsreply 1401/29/2013

Such vile people.

by Stay classy, gun nutsreply 1501/29/2013

[quote]Your right to swing your fist ends where my face begins. I think those of us who choose not to own guns have a right to be safe from those who do

by Stay classy, gun nutsreply 1601/29/2013
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