Republican Rep. Ralph Norman (S.C.) pulled out a loaded handgun while discussing gun-violence prevention during a meeting with constituents on Friday to make the point that guns are not always dangerous.
According to volunteers for the South Carolina chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, the lawmaker left the pistol out for “several minutes” while he “kept telling his constituents that the presence of the gun made them safer.”
Norman admitted to The Post and Courier that he showed his loaded .38-caliber Smith & Wesson during a “coffee with constituents” event in his home district.
He cited the shooting of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was shot in the head during a 2011 constituent meeting, in explaining his decision.
“I’m not going to be a Gabby Giffords,” the lawmaker told the paper. “I don’t mind dying, but whoever shoots me better shoot well or I’m shooting back.”
Norman said he displayed his handgun in an attempt to show that “guns don’t shoot people, people shoot guns.”
“Guns are not the problem,” he said.
Norman said he might pull out the handgun again.
Several constituents who attended the event said they were disturbed by the incident.
“Rep. Norman’s behavior today was a far cry from what responsible gun ownership looks like,” Lori Freemon, a volunteer who attended the meeting, said in a news release. “I had looked forward to a respectful dialogue with my representative about common-sense gun violence prevention policies.”
She added: “Instead, I felt unsafe when he insisted on showing us his loaded gun and keeping it out on the table for much of our conversation.”