GOP congressman brandishes gun during meeting with constituents


Republican Rep. Ralph Norman whipped out a gun during a meeting with voters in South Carolina to show that guns aren't really that 'dangerous.'

Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) brandished a gun at a meeting with constituents and said, "I'm not going to be a Gabby Giffords."

In 2011, Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords was shot in the head by a would-be assassin outside a Tucson-area grocery store. Since then, Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, have been advocates for gun safety.

"I don't mind dying," Norman said, exhibiting the over-the-top bravado associated with many NRA-style advocates, "but whoever shoots me better shoot well or I'm shooting back."

The Post and Courier reported that Norman put a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun on a table at the meeting. He was reportedly attempting to "make a point that guns are only dangerous in the hands of criminals."

Of course, on a regular basis thousands of Americans — including small children — are killed and injured by poorly secured handguns in their homes and cars. The assertion that guns are not dangerous when wielded by private citizens is absurd.

Norman's bizarre behavior frightened those in attendance.

Lori Freeman, a volunteer with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, told the paper, "I felt unsafe when he insisted on showing us his loaded gun and keeping it out on the table for much of our conversation."

Sounding more like someone describing a fictional action movie than a member of Congress, Norman told the attendees that the gun on the table meant he could protect them.

"Guns are not the problem," he told the paper.

But easy access to guns is the problem, and it is why thousands of Americans across the country joined the March for Our Lives and continue to advocate for gun safety laws.

Republicans like Norman and their NRA allies continue to oppose gun laws, even as voters have made them the second most important issue headed into this year's midterm election.

Along with their lockstep support for the rest of the unpopular Trump agenda, voters are primed to send a message at the ballot box to Norman and his party.

Childish displays of bravado, along with resistance to popular gun safety measures, are not the way to lead.