Republican Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina reportedly drew a loaded handgun and placed it on a table while talking with constituents Friday, proclaiming “I’m not going to be a Gabby Giffords.”
Referencing the former Arizona congresswoman who was shot during a public event, Norman advocated during a “coffee with constituents” meeting for his right to protect himself.
“I’m tired of these liberals jumping on the guns themselves as if they are the cause of the problem,” Norman said in South Carolina, according to Fox News. “Guns are not the problem.”
Placing the firearm on the table allegedly drew mixed reactions.
Giffords’ husband, NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, didn’t appreciate Norman’s “stunt.”
“Americans are increasingly faced with a stark choice: leaders like Gabby, who work hard together to find solutions to problems, or extremists like the NRA and Congressman Norman, who rely on intimidation tactics and perpetuating fear,” Kelly said, according to Fox News.
When I think of @GabbyGiffords, I think of courage and public service, not intimidating constituents. You’re no Gabby, @RepRalphNorman. You pull out a gun when you are prepared and need to use it – not for a stunt. https://t.co/kkAHo2eSuE
— Mark Kelly (@ShuttleCDRKelly) April 6, 2018
“Guns don’t shoot people; people shoot guns,” Norman, who is a state concealed carry permit holder, told The Post and Courier. “I don’t mind dying, but whoever shoots me better shoot well or I’m shooting back.”
Norman said he purposefully pointed the gun away from people at the meeting, and that it was only out for about five minutes.
Still, some were unsettled.
“What was to prevent me,” asked a local public school teacher, “from leaning across the table to take that gun?”
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