Andrew Yang broke down in tears at a gun laws forum in Iowa on Saturday while addressing a woman who lost her daughter to a stray bullet.
According to the attendee, her son — her daughter’s twin brother — witnessed the accident that killed his sister two days later in March 2011.
When asked how he would address such shootings, Yang left the stage and asked to hug the attendee, who identified herself as Stephanie.
“I’m so sorry,” the Democratic presidential hopeful said as he approached her.
As Yang returned to the stage, however, he began to tear up at the thought of his own children.
“I have a 6 and 3-year-old boy… I was imagining it was one of them that got shot and the other saw it,” the 44-year-old cried before returning to Stephanie’s direction. “I’m so sorry.”
Yang composed himself for a few seconds before continuing.
“The biggest downside in running for president for me is when I don’t get to see my family very much. So I get pictures, FaceTime … I see pictures of my boys and just, that scene that she described, I’m sorry, it’s very very affecting me.”
In response to Stephanie’s question, Yang affirmed that gun ownership at home increases the likelihood of someone getting shot.
“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 in the house. Those are just numbers. Those are just facts … If we can convince Americans that personalized guns are a good idea then again, if the child gets ahold of the gun then they can’t do anything with it, then it just becomes a very heavy, expensive prop.”
Yang went on to discuss his proposal on personalized gun technology, which would make it “difficult or impossible” for someone other than the gun’s owner to fire it.
“One of my proposals is to actually help gun owners upgrade their guns to personalized guns free of charge … Gun owners are parents. Gun owners understand. Some of them are concerned, so if you say, ‘Hey, we’ll upgrade your guns for free,’ when we can do that, that would help make kids safer in our homes.”
Speaking to reporters after the forum, Yang explained that imagining the attendee’s story happening to his own family is “incomprehensible.”
“I was just imagining what it was like to be a mother and see your 4-year-old shot and turn around — legally shot — and her brother see that happen. If you’re a parent and imagine it happening to your family, it’s really incomprehensible. You know I have 6 and 3-year-old boys and they’re very similar in age and I just couldn’t help think what would happen to my family.”
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