WASHINGTON (February 27, 2013)—Neil Heslin, 50, the father of one of the first graders slain in the Newtown, Conn. school massacre, begged the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday to ban assault weapons.
A ban is not expected to pass Congress, but Heslin urged lawmakers to consider the prohibition for his son, Jesse, who was 6 years old when he was gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The construction worker said he supports the Second Amendment right to bear arms, and backs sportsmen who like using firearms, but he said the amendment wasn't written a time when firearms were as sophisticated as today's assault weapons.
Heslin spoke in support of a bill by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that would ban assault weapons.
Republicans at the hearing said the ban could violate the Constitution.
Meanwhile Wednesday U.S. Rep. George Miller-D, Calif., the top Democrat on the House Education Committee, said any discussion about school safety needs to be coupled with "common sense strategies to keep guns out of the hands of those who intend harm."
Miller said the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., was a wake-up call for policymakers to do something.
Turning schools into armed fortresses is not the answer, he said.
Republican Rep. John Kline, the chairman of the committee, says he wants lawmakers to focus on how to prevent future mass shootings such as the one in Connecticut that left 20 children and six adults dead.