The Slatest

Watch Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang Break Down in Tears While Discussing Gun Violence

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang speaks during a forum on gun safety at the Iowa Events Center on August 10, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang speaks during a forum on gun safety at the Iowa Events Center on August 10, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang became visibly emotional when discussing gun violence at a forum in Iowa Saturday. It happened when a women in the audience asked a question about how he would deal with unintentional shootings by children and in the process opened up about her personal tragedy.

“My beautiful 4-year-old daughter Dayla was struck by a stray bullet, March 2011,” Stephanie Pizzoferrato said at the Everytown for Gun Safety event in Des Moines. “My son―my daughter’s twin brother―witnessed what happened that day. She died two days later.” Yang responded by asking whether it would be acceptable to give the woman a hug. He then returned to the stage and began speaking about his own family. “I have a 6- and 3-year-old boy, and I was imagining,” Yang said as he placed his hand over his face and broke down in tears. “I was imagining it was one of them that got shot and the other saw it.” He then broke down in tears again. “I’m so sorry,” he said.

“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, very affecting.” Yang went on to answer the question, noting that when there’s a gun in the house “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.” The answer to the problem would be to have “personalized” guns that prevent anybody but the owner from firing the weapon. “If we can convince Americans that personalized guns are a good idea then … if the child gets ahold of the gun then they can’t do anything with it,” he said. “One of my proposals is to actually help gun owners upgrade their guns to personalized guns free of charge.”

After the event, Pizzoferrato took to Twitter to say that it was important for people to hear stories like that of her family so they can “meet the reality of gun violence.”