While meeting with constituents to discuss gun reform, Rep. Ralph Norman (R-South Carolina) pulled out a loaded gun in an effort to make a point.
The Charleston, South Carolina Post and Courier initially reported on the meeting involving the loaded gun on Friday evening, following a tense discussion at a local diner between Norman and advocates with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
“I had looked forward to a respectful dialogue with my representative about common-sense gun violence prevention policies,” Moms Demand Action volunteer Lori Freemon told the Post and Courier. “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.”
Rep. Norman, however, insisted he wasn’t trying to intimidate members of the group by pulling out a loaded gun during one of his “Coffee with Constituents” meetings, but was simply trying to make a point about responsible gun ownership.
“I’m not going to be a Gabby Giffords,” Norman said, in reference to a Democratic member of Congress who was shot and nearly killed at a public event in Tucson, Arizona in 2011. “I don’t mind dying, but whoever shoots me better shoot well or I’m shooting back.”
According to Norman, the loaded gun remained on the table for roughly five minutes after he pulled it out, and was pointed away from his constituents. Even though he’s a member of Congress, Norman has a concealed carry license, and argued that he keeps the loaded gun on his person in the event of a mass shooting, whereupon he would presumably defend himself and others with the weapon.
“I’m tired of these liberals jumping on the guns themselves as if they are the cause of the problem,” Norman said. “Guns are not the problem.”
Despite Rep. Norman’s best intentions, even seasoned firearms professionals have been prone to accidentally discharge their weapons and cause injury. A National Rifle Association (NRA) employee accidentally shot himself during a firearms safety class last year the NRA’s national headquarters in Virginia. In 2014, another man injured himself at a gun range during an NRA event in Pennsylvania.
While NRA members would likely characterize themselves as more responsible gun owners than most, the New England Journal of Medicine found that gun injuries nationwide drop by approximately 20 percent during NRA conventions, when most of the organization’s members are in meetings and seminars, rather than at home with their guns.
Jake Shepherd is a freelance writer from Cleveland, Ohio. He enjoys poring through financial disclosure statements, spirited debate, and good scotch. He remains eternally optimistic about the Browns. Email him at jake.d.shepherd.21 (at) hotmail (dot) com.