Democratic presidential candidate Andrew YangAndrew YangGeorge Floyd protests show corporations must support racial and economic equality Andrew Yang discusses his universal basic income pilot program Andrew Yang on the George Floyd protests in Minneapolis MORE on Saturday became visibly shaken and broke down in tears while discussing gun violence at a town hall in Iowa.
The tech entrepreneur, who unveiled a platform to curb gun violence last week, received a question during the Everytown Gun Safety Town Hall about how he would address unintentional shootings by children as president.
The woman asking the question, Stephanie, noted that her 4-year-old daughter was fatally shot by a stray bullet in 2011 and that her son witnessed the incident.
WATCH: 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang speaks through his tears as he responds to a woman in Iowa who talked to him about her daughter, who was hit by a stray bullet and died, and her son, the girl’s twin, who saw it happen – @alivitali / @MauraBarrettNBC pic.twitter.com/vjRHHPx4rC
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) August 10, 2019
“Firearms are the second-leading cause of death for children and teenagers in the U.S., but 4.6 million American children live in homes with at least one gun that is loaded and unlocked, and hundreds of them gain access to a gun and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else every year,” she said to Yang. “As president, how would you address unintentional shootings by children?” ADVERTISEMENTYang responded by immediately asking the moderator if it was okay to leave the stage and give the woman in the crowd a hug. After hugging her, Yang returned to the stage and began speaking about his own children.
“I have a 6- and 3-year-old boy, and I was imagining,” Yang said, stopping to place his hand over his face as he broke down in tears. “I was imagining it was one of them that got shot and the other saw it.”
Yang began crying again, before looking in the direction of Stephanie and saying, “I’m so sorry.”
“The biggest downside of running for president for me has been that I don’t get to see my family very much, so I get pictures,” Yang added. “That scene that you described, I’m sorry, it’s very affecting.”
Yang went on to note that when “there’s a gun in the household, you’re more likely to have a child get shot or the owner get shot than to kill, let’s say, an intruder into the house.”
“Those are just numbers, those are just the facts,” he said. “If we can convince Americans that personalized guns are a good idea then again, if the child gets a hold of the gun then they can’t do anything with it, then it just becomes a very heavy, expensive prop.”
The exchange occurred as dozens of U.S. lawmakers call for reforming the nation’s gun laws after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, last weekend, which left 31 people dead.
Yang has introduced a policy proposal to help gun owners “personalize” firearms free of charge, allowing only the owners to fire them.
“if you say hey, we’ll upgrade your guns for free — when we can do that, like you can upgrade the guns for free — that would help make kids safer in our homes,” he said on Saturday, before stating that Stephanie’s story should “not be possible.”
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