NEIL Heslin, the father of six-year-old Sandy Hook massacre victim Jessie, was reportedly heckled on Monday as he spoke at a local hearing on gun control.
Mr Heslin, holding a picture of his son as he spoke at the Connecticut state capitol in Hartford, told the rally he did not understand why anyone needed to own an assault weapon, prompting a cry of ‘‘Second Amendment’’ from the crowd.
The incident came as gun rights activists said they were planning a nationwide ‘‘day of resistance’’ on February 23, a date that bears a typographical similarity to .223 assault weapon cartridges used in the Sandy Hook school shootings.
Organisers said they chose the date – whose common short form in the US is 2/23 – as a ‘‘clever way’’ to attract ‘‘the gun crowd’’ to the event, but denied it would be seen as insensitive.
It also came as police officers who were first to respond to the school shooting spopke for the first time of the horror and heartbreakthat greeted them at the elemntary school.
A series of rallies by Tea Party activists and pro-gun campaigners will be held across the US in response to the 23 executive orders introduced by US President Barack Obama that organisers say are ‘‘unconstitutional’’.
Dustin Stockton, one of the event organisers, denied the date had been chosen to capitalise on recent shootings.
‘‘This is not something that is aimed at that at all. It’s not a reaction to those events specifically at all,’’ he said. ‘‘Everybody feels terrible for those families, but this is really a message to Washington, and is separate from those events.
‘‘It wasn’t intended in any way to connect with any weapons used by any crazy people.’’
Asked if people might make that connection, he said: ‘‘The gun-grabbing crowd is going to be critical of this no matter what we call it. If we concern ourselves with trying to please everyone, we’ll never be able to take any action.’’
The day of resistance website features a US flag covered with the shadows of protesters holding guns, including assault rifles, aloft. Mr Stockton runs the conservative website TheTeaParty.net along with 20 full-time staff, and said the protests could be bigger than the wave of Tea Party protests that swept across the US following Mr Obama’s 2008 election win.
‘‘We’re actually seeing an entirely new crowd of people who weren’t politically active at all,’’ Mr Stockton said. ‘‘All of a sudden they hear the debate move to guns. We’re seeing a lot of people who are outdoorsmen, who probably didn’t vote in the last election, [or] in the last two elections.
Enacting more bans on guns will not stop bad people . . . If bans on things were successful, there would not be drug users.
‘‘From the response that we’ve been getting we believe this is actually going to be larger than the Tea Party wave in 2009.’’
Tiffiny Rueger, from the conservative pro-gun Women Warriors political action committee, said that ‘‘these horrific massacres are not done by a gun’’.
‘‘They are crimes of an individual who chose a gun as their weapon. People who kill will kill with a gun, a car, a knife or anything else they create. Enacting more bans on guns will not stop bad people – it will leave good people unprotected. If bans on things were successful, there would not be drug users.’’
Guardian News & Media