Gun reform has been a divisive issue in American politics for many years, as voters and politicians have voiced starkly opposing views on the Second Amendment.

Businessman Andrew Yang, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, explained to uPolitics exclusively his views on gun control and proposed solutions to curb the growing wave of gun violence permeating the United States.

“The epidemic of gun violence is incredibly tragic, I’m for gun safety measures,” said Yang. “I think that in a country where you’re licensed to drive, you should be licensed to have a
firearm because firearms are obviously as deadly as an automobile. I have an eight-step
plan to try and curb gun violence and increase gun safety including fining gun
manufacturers any time their products are used in a shooting.”

Yang went on to say how “perverse” it is that gun manufacturers actually benefit from mass shootings because firearm sales often increase after these incidents due to a rise in concern among the general public, as many people feel a greater need a protect themselves in light of these incidents.

Mass shootings in schools, places of worship, shopping malls have occurred all throughout the U.S. over the last few years and have sparked nationwide rallies for gun reform led by advocacy groups and activists. The National Rifle Association — which has infamously donated millions of dollars to many conservative-leaning politicians — has criticized many of these protests. It was revealed late last year that the NRA is facing severe financial struggles and may even soon be “unable to exist.” The Democratic-led House recently passed a bill requiring universal background checks for firearms.

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Yang also noted how many gun-related deaths are also self-inflicted and stressed that the national suicide rate has also significantly risen in recent years partly due to loose gun laws and regulations in certain states.

“The sad reality is that a lot of this gun violence we’re experiencing is self-inflicted, where people are buying guns and then killing themselves,” he added. “We’re now at a point where suicides are at record highs and a lot of that is firearm related.”

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), another 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, has already made gun reform his signature campaign issue.

Full interview transcript below:

Q: What’s your position on gun safety?

A: Now so the epidemic of gun violence is incredibly tragic, I’m for gun safety measures. I think that in a country where you’re licensed to drive, you should be licensed to have a firearm because of firearms obviously as deadly as an automobile. I have an eight-step plan to try and curb gun violence and increase gun safety including fining gun manufacturers any time their product are used in a shooting because right now — and this is perverse — but when there’s a school shooting gun sales actually go up because people are concerned that regulation is going to go up so they run out and buy guns. So if you’re a gun manufacturer, shooting is actually good for your business. Think about how perverse that is.

So what we need to do is we need to have them incur costs when there’s a shooting and then the gun manufacturers you would see might start actually investing in gun safety and signature guns and licensing because they don’t want to be held culpable. So that’s one of the eight steps I would suggest. There are many many things we need to do, but the sad reality is that a lot of this gun violence we’re experiencing is self-inflicted, where people are buying guns and then killing themselves. We’re now at a point where suicides are at record highs and a lot of that is firearm related.