Newtown father, Neil Heslin, visits Little Rock in hopes of speaking to Sen. Mark Pryor

    10:04 PM, May 2, 2013   |    comments
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    Neil Heslin

    LITTLE ROCK (KTHV) - He lost his 6-year-old son in the Newtown school shooting back in December.

    The little boy's mother has family in Fayetteville, but the still-grieving father told THV 11 News that he came to Little Rock this week to visit a friend. He also hoped to speak with U.S. Senator Mark Pryor and find out why he voted against a recent bill that would have expanded background checks on gun sales.

    "Best day of life and happiest day was the day Jesse was born, and the saddest and worst day was the day I lost him," Heslin said.

    Jesse Lewis was in first grade when the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting happened in Newtown.

    "The only way I can describe Newtown is that it's a broken-hearted, heavy-hearted community at this point," Heslin said.

    Newtown is a still-grieving community that's since taken a stand for tougher gun laws, including Heslin.

    "I think it's important to meet face-to-face and get an answer why they don't support (something) or what they do support," Heslin said.

    On his trip to Arkansas this week, Heslin had hoped to get some face time with U.S. Senator Mark Pryor and ask him why he voted against a bill that failed in the Senate last month. That bill would have expanded background checks to gun shows and online gun sales.

    "It's not about taking the second amendment. It's not about changing the second amendment. It's about common sense changes that make our schools and our country a safer place," Heslin said.

    Heslin never got a chance to meet with Senator Pryor on his visit, but he said he remains confident the senator will reach out to him and help him heal from a devastating loss.

    "It's been extremely hard on me, he came late in my life, and he changed my life," Heslin said. "Jesse loved life. He loved school. He was a force."

    As for Senator Pryor, he argued in a previous interview that if you read the background check bill closely, it's a bit vague and subject to interpretation. We should note the senator has also voted in favor of other gun legislation.

    Heslin also said he hopes to reach out to other senators who voted against this background check bill.

    Related Link:

    Arkansas senators respond to gun control bill failure

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