Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., pulled out a loaded gun during a meeting with his constituents Friday to make a point that the presence of the weapon made it safer for everyone in the room, and later told the Post and Courier that he wasn’t going to be “a Gabby Giffords,” referring to the former congresswoman who was shot during a constituent gathering in 2011.
“I don’t mind dying, but whoever shoots me better shoot well, or I’m shooting back,” he told the paper.
Norman placed the gun on the table for “several minutes” during a public meeting over breakfast at a Rock Hill diner, according to volunteers for the South Carolina chapters of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and said he often had guns with him in public. He also told the Post and Courier the point he was trying to make was that “guns don’t shoot people, people shoot guns.”
Mark Kelly, a retired astronaut, Navy veteran, and Giffords’ husband, said in a statement that “Congressman Norman is right — he’s no Gabby Giffords.”
“When I think of @GabbyGiffords, I think of courage and public service, not intimidating constituents,” Kelly also tweeted.
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