Rep. Ralph Norman took out a loaded weapon at a meeting with constituents. “I'm not going to be a Gabby Giffords," Norman said afterward. “I don't mind dying, but whoever shoots me better shoot well or I'm shooting back," he told The Post and Courier.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) April 6, 2018
A South Carolina Republican congressman is not backing down from critics after he pulled out his own personal — and loaded — .38-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun during a meeting with constituents Friday.
U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman, R-Rock Hill, told The Post and Courier he pulled out the weapon and placed it on a table for several minutes in attempt to make a point that guns are only dangerous in the hands of criminals…
The incident happened at one of the many “coffee with constituents” meetings the freshman lawmaker hosts around South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District.
Norman said he pulled out the gun, pointed it away from the meeting attendees and put it on a table for about five minutes while they continued their conversation over breakfast.
The move, Norman said, was intended to prove “guns don’t shoot people; people shoot guns.”
Norman is a state concealed carry permit holder and said he regularly brings his gun with him when out in public.
If anyone walked into the diner and started shooting, Norman told the attendees, he would be able to protect them because of his gun…
Norman’s actions also drew the ire of Giffords’ husband, retired Navy veteran and NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, who helped Giffords start a gun control group after she was shot.
“Congressman Norman is right – he’s no Gabby Giffords,” Kelly said in a statement.
“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 added…
Democrats pounced on Norman’s actions, suggesting it was a potentially illegal political stunt.
“Ralph is only pulling his gun out of his pants like a prop, which no responsible gun owner would do, because he barely got elected the first time,” Robertson said. “This isn’t about gun ownership, it’s about his inadequate campaign.”
Four Democrats have filed to run against Norman in the 2018 race, including his opponent from last year’s special election, Archie Parnell….
I am no expert on concealed carry etiquette, but I would think that once a holder starts pulling out his weapon as a (literal) party prop, he’s pretty well negated the “concealed” part of the equation.
Additional context: A meeting with local constituents…about gun control.
— Scott Monty (@ScottMonty) April 6, 2018
Aside from the obvious insanity here, the casual disrespect shown Gabby Giffords is loathsome. If he was going to go there why didn’t he reference the more recent Steve Scalise, I wonder (rhetorically)? https://t.co/ZuyGcoor0B
— Schooley (@Rschooley) April 7, 2018
But at least Rep. Norman can count on the support of his peers…
— The Hill (@thehill) April 7, 2018
… because that worked out so very well for the state, the first time it was tried.