The heated debate over new gun control laws got hotter today in Washington.
There was emotional testimony before Congress to include a tearful plea from the father of one of the young victims of the Newtown, Connecticut massacre.
A packed, sometimes boisterous senate hearing on an assault weapons ban fell silent when the father of six year old Newtown victim Jessie Lewis testified.
Neil Heslin pleaded for the ban, as did fellow Newtown resident Dr. William Begg who treated several other sandy hook victims.
"People say the overall number of assault weapon deaths is relatively small, but you know what? Please don't tell that to the people of Tucson, or Aurora, or Columbine, or Virginia Tech and don't tell that to the people of Newtown," said Begg.
It's the first hearing on the proposed ban on military-style assault weapons since the December 14th rampage in Newtown left 20 children and six adults dead.
Proponents of the ban argue assault weapons are the common thread in recent mass shootings.
While opponents, like Senator Lindsey Graham, say the ban's not necessary, but better enforcement of existing law is.
That led to this testy exchange between Graham and Milwaukee police chief Edward Flynn.
An outright ban isn't likely to pass the senate, but maybe other parts will.
Which may explain why Vice President Biden, in a speech across town seemed to shift focus to background checks and reducing magazine size.
The senate judiciary committee could vote on the proposed ban as early as Thursday.
Chris Clackum, NBC News.