Rep Pulls Gun While Meeting With Gun-Control Advocates

'I'm not going to be a Gabby Giffords'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 7, 2018 10:09 AM CDT
Republican Ralph Norman, left, greets a supporter at a campaign party in Rock Hill, S.C., Tuesday, June 20, 2017 after winning the South Carolina's 5th Congressional District.   (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

(Newser) – A Republican lawmaker in South Carolina took out a loaded pistol while arguing with constituents pushing for better gun control Friday, the Washington Post reports. "I'm not going to be a Gabby Giffords," Rep. Ralph Norman tells the Post and Courier, adding, "I don’t mind dying, but whoever shoots me better shoot well, or I’m shooting back." Giffords, a former Arizona lawmaker, was shot during a public appearance in 2011. Norman's move drew criticism from some attending the "coffee with constituents" event, as well as from Giffords' husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, who agreed with just one part of Norman's sentiment. "When I think of @GabbyGiffords, I think of courage and public service, not intimidating constituents," Kelly tweeted. "You’re no Gabby."

Norman says he took out his pistol and placed it on a table while talking with volunteers from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America to prove that "guns don't shoot people; people shoot guns" and that guns are only dangerous when it's criminals who are using them. "I'm tired of these liberals jumping on the guns themselves as if they are the cause of the problem," Norman says. "Guns are not the problem." While Norman claimed he was making constituents at the meeting safer, some said they felt uncomfortable or unsafe when he took out his gun. “Rep. Norman’s behavior today was a far cry from what responsible gun ownership looks like," says Lori Freemon, one of the volunteers at the meeting. Norman, who has a concealed carry permit, says he plans to take his gun out at more meetings in the future.

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