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Town Hall Meeting Turns Into Gun Control Debate

U.S. Senator Mark Pryor holds town hall meeting in downtown Little Rock
LITTLE ROCK, AR --  U.S. Senator Mark Pryor met with folks today in a town hall to talk about hunting and the great outdoors.

But, the meeting quickly turned into a debate on gun control.

Pryor spent about 15 minutes talking about fishing and hunting.

But it was clear, many people in the audience -- including  Neil Heslin -- who's son Jesse was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary -- wanted to hear about something else.

The organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns said they sent Heslin to the meeting so he could question the senator's vote against a background check bill in April.

Heslin said, "If you could help prevent one death, one murder, it's definitely worth the effort."

But Senator Pryor says that bill wouldn't do enough to prevent a tragedy like the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.

He said, "I think we need to focus on mental health. It's a real issue and something really missing in the debates right now."

That's why he says he supported an alternative gun control bill instead.

Senator Pryor says that one  focuses more on background checks for the mentally ill.

While Senator Pryor welcomed Heslin's questions, he says the group that sent him here is practicing shady politics.

Pryor said, "I think the better approach would be to actually reach out and talk to people instead of brow beating them in public like they're doing right now. In fact, instead of trying to bring people in from out of state like you just interviewed...they probably paid his way to get here...so don't be misled by that."

Heslin insures he's here for his son and the hope his voice can prevent another parent from going through the same tragedy as he did.

Senator Pryor says the U.S. Senate didn't get enough votes to pass the background checks bill or the gun control bill and he says right now there's not a similar bill in the works.

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