South Carolina Republican Congressman Ralph Norman reportedly pulled out a loaded handgun during a meet and greet at the Rock Hill Diner on Friday morning.
Norman explained that, after being pressed by some at the meeting to support stricter gun legislation, he pulled the Smith & Wesson .38-caliber handgun out to prove the point that it’s the shooters, not the guns, which are dangerous.
Norman, who represents South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District, told the Post and Courier that he kept the gun out on the table in front of him for about five minutes, and that it was pointed away from people the entire time.
He told those at the meeting, “I pulled it out to make a point that guns don’t shoot. If someone walks into this restaurant shooting, I’m going to shoot him. I’m going to protect you and everybody else in here. I don’t mind dying, but whoever shoots me better shoot well or I’m shooting back.”
When asked by attendees whether or not the gun was loaded, Norman responded simply, “Absolutely, a gun without bullets is useless.”
Present at that meeting, part of a series of “coffee with constituents” meet and greets, were local members of the Bloomberg-funded gun control group Moms Demand Action. One member, Lori Freemon, told the Herald that she wasn’t sure it was legal for him to display the gun.
South Carolina’s concealed carry law states that the gun is to be concealed unless in use to defend life or property. “I didn’t have the courage to call out the congressman in front of everyone. … I was thinking, why does he think he’s above the law, he’s a congressman.”
Norman says that, outside of Washington, he carries a handgun most of the time and is likely to pull it out to make a statement like this again in the future. “I’m tired of these liberals jumping on the guns themselves as if they are the cause of the problem. Guns are not the problem.”