To the horror of liberals everywhere, a Republican congressman from South Carolina pulled out a loaded handgun during a meeting with constituents.
His intended message: “I’m not going to be a Gabby Giffords.”
Rep. Ralph Norman drew .38-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun and placed it on a table during a “coffee with constituents” meeting on Friday at a Rock Hill restaurant, The Post and Courier reported.
The action being a visual that Norman takes personal responsibility for his defense, looking to avoid the outcome Giffords experienced when she was shot during a 2011 constituent gathering.
The Republican lawmaker reportedly holds a state-issued concealed-carry gun permit, making it legal to carry the weapon.
“I’m tired of these liberals jumping on the guns themselves as if they are the cause of the problem,” Norman told the Post and Courier. “Guns are not the problem.”
On cue, a volunteer with the South Carolina chapter of the gun control group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense speaking with Norman at the time took exception.
“I had looked forward to a respectful dialogue with my representative about common-sense gun violence prevention policies,” Lori Freemon told the newspaper. “Instead, I felt unsafe when he insisted on showing us his loaded gun and keeping it out on the table for much of our conversation.”
Giffords husband, Mark Kelly, a gun control advocate, condemned Norman’s actions.
“Congressman Norman is right — he’s no Gabby Giffords,” Kelly said in a statement on Friday, according to the Washington Examiner. “And what this country needs are more leaders like Gabby Giffords.”
The former astronaut also took a shot at the NRA.
“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.
The South Carolina Republican Party supported Norman’s controversial action.
“Hysterical to see liberals freak out over @RalphNorman accurately demonstrating that guns really are inanimate objects,” S.C. GOP Chairman Drew McKissick tweeted.
— Drew McKissick (@DrewMcKissick) April 6, 2018