In a story that ‘broke’ late last and further spread today, many media outlets are claiming that Neil Heslin, father of a slain Sandy Hook student, was heckled during his speech in front of a gun violence task force in the Connecticut legislature. This was the same legislature session where a Sandy Hook parent was applauded for speaking on behalf of gun rights, see that story here.
If you actually watch the video you can see that Mr. Heslin directly turns towards the crowd to ask them, “I ask if there’s anybody in this room that can give me one reason or challenge this question … why anybody in this room needs to have one of these assault-style weapons or military weapons or high-capacity clips.”
No one in the crowd replies. Mr Heslin then states, “Not one person can answer that question.” At which point a number of the audience members speak out. Listening to the audio with an unbiased ear it is clear that those who spoke up did so respectfully in an inaudible chorus The only audible statement from the crowd is: “The right to bear arms shall not be infringed.” Clearly no one heckled Mr. Heslin personally, the crowd was simply responding to an inquiry posed to them twice by Mr. Heslin. Mr. Heslin even follows up the interaction with the crowd stating that he respects their opinion. Watch the video below – the interaction takes place at the 15 minute mark.
Twitchy.com lists a full rundown of the outlets who pushed the false heckling claim. Among those mentioned are Gawker, CNN, MSNBC, Vanity Fair, Media Matters, Daily Beast, Slate and The Huffington Post.