South Carolina Republican congressman Ralph Norman reportedly pulled out a loaded pistol on Friday at an event in his home district in Rock Hill, South Carolina. The episode happened at a scheduled “coffee with constituents” meeting about gun violence prevention.
Norman laid the pistol out on a table in front of him for “several minutes,” telling the crowd that “the presence of the gun made them safer,” according to a news release from a South Carolina chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
Norman later told the Post and Courier, “I’m not going to be a Gabby Giffords.” He added, “I don’t mind dying, but whoever shoots me better shoot well or I’m shooting back.”
Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman, narrowly survived a shooting in 2011 outside an Arizona grocery store; she now advocates against gun violence.
Not all of his constituents were pleased. “Rep. Norman’s behavior today was a far cry from what responsible gun ownership looks like,” Lori Freemon, an attendee at 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.”
Norman told Post and Courtier that the pistol was a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun and that he “pointed it away from the meeting attendees.” He added that he plans to display the pistol more often at future constituent meetings.
Good luck, Norman!