A Connecticut gun rights group is accusing the father of a Newtown school shooting victim of "profiting off the tragedy" and says his past drunk driving convictions make him the "poster boy" for why background checks don't work.
Connecticut Carry put out a press release Wednesday attacking Neil Heslin for using his advocacy against guns to offset his financial and legal problems, The Huffington Post
reports. Heslin's 6-year-old son Jesse Lewis was killed in Sandy Hook elementary school massacre last December.
"He has been sued several times for not paying his bills through his businesses and for not paying child support as well," the Connecticut gun group said in the statement. "Now, Mr. Heslin has found the employment he has needed for so long lobbying against the rights of the citizens of Connecticut and the rest of the country as well."
Heslin testified before Congress in February and has attended White House events with President Barack Obama advocating for expanded background checks for all commercial gun sales.
As for his appearances at the White House, Connecticut Carry said, "A felon within arm's reach of the President of the administration so dead set on background checks. No better testimony to how ineffective background checks are needs to be presented."
Some of Heslin's legal problems were revealed this week when he was offered a plea deal by a Connecticut Superior Court judge on charges of driving with a suspended license, writing bad checks, and larceny, according to a report in the Danbury News Times. He has been given until July 9 to accept it.
But Heslin and various gun control groups he has worked with, including Mayors Against illegal Guns funded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have denied that he has been paid for his appearances or promotional work pushing tougher gun laws.
"Neil is not employed by Mayors Against Illegal Guns nor was he compensated for his participation in the ad featuring family members of Newtown shooting victims," Erika Soto Lamb, spokeswoman for the mayors group, told the Huffington Post.
Other anti-gun organizations, including the Brady Campaign, Americans for Responsible Solutions, and the Newtown-based nonprofit Sandy Hook Promise, also told online news source that they have not employed Heslin.
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