Normal Heart

Mayor Pete gets emotional talking to second grader about gun control

Pete Buttigieg talking

Presidential hopeful Mayor Pete Buttigieg got choked up during a campaign event this weekend, when asked by a second grader about keeping schools safe from shootings.

Buttigieg, who served a tour in Afganistan, spoke about the dangers of allowing guns in the hands of criminals or people living with mental illness, and expressed frustration over the lack of action on gun control following numerous, recent shooting massacres like those at Parkland High or the Pulse nightclub. He then got emotional talking about keeping children safe.

“One of the voices that is in my head when someone like you asks a question like that is we cannot let you down,” Buttigieg said. “Those of us in elected office owe it to you to do whatever it takes, even if it means losing an election every now and then, to keep you safe. The moral authority you have as a young person asking somebody old enough to run for office what we’re going to do about that is a really powerful thing.”

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Buttigieg also invoked his own experience in the military to speak about the dangers of allowing assault weapons for sale to the public. “One thing I know about them is that they don’t belong anywhere near an American school,” he added.

Chasten Buttigieg, the husband of Mayor Pete, teaches in a Jr. High school, no doubt also adding to his emotional response.

Buttigieg is the first openly gay man to seek the nomination of a major party. Recent opinion polls show him running about fourth in a crowded field, just behind Vice President Joe Biden, and Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.