April 8 (UPI) — U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman, R-SC, pulled out his loaded .38 caliber handgun at a constituents meeting on Friday to assert his stance on gun control.
Norman, a Republican U.S. congressman representing South Carolina’s Rock Hill district since June 26, 2017, told The Post and Courier that he pulled the Smith & Wesson gun out to show that “guns don’t shoot people; people shoot guns.”
“I’m not going to be a Gabby Giffords,” Norman also said to the newspaper, referring to the former Arizona Democratic congresswoman being shot at a 2011 constituent gathering in her district. “I don’t mind dying, but whoever shoots me better shoot well or I’m shooting back.”
In a CNN report, Norman added that he also wanted to show that loaded gun possession should make people safer, in light of the debate over gun violence.
“Given the scenario that if someone had walked into that diner and began to fire a weapon, I told them I would be able to defend myself and them as well,” Norman told CNN.
He added: “Mental health, and more importantly, a lack of morality, is the driving force behind this epidemic. Guns are not the problem.
One of his constituents present at the meeting, Lori Freemon, who volunteers for the gun control group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, criticized the move, saying it was “a far cry from what responsible gun ownership looks like,” in a released statement.
“I had looked forward to a respectful dialogue with my representative about common-sense gun violence prevention policies,” she added.
South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Trav Robertson Posted on Twitter he would call for a State Law Enforcement Division investigation into Norman’s action.
“As any truly responsible gun owner knows, you cannot brandish your weapon without an imminent threat,” Robertson tweeted Friday. “This is a felony offense and punishable by up to five years in prison. I will be sending an official request to SLED to investigate @RepRalphNorman’s actions.”
Norman became a member of the U.S. House after Mick Mulvaney joined the Trump administration.