A South Carolina congressman has pulled out his own loaded handgun during a meeting with constituents to make a point that guns are dangerous only in the hands of criminals.
News outlets report Republican U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman placed the .38-caliber gun on a table during Friday’s meeting at a Rock Hill restaurant. Noman said he wasn’t going to be “a Gabby Giffords,” referring to the former Arizona congresswoman who was shot outside a grocery store during a constituent gathering in 2011.
Norman said he’ll display his gun at future constituent meetings.
Schoolteacher Lori Carter of Charlotte, North Carolina, said she thought the move was contradictory because there was nothing to prevent her from grabbing the gun and Norman didn’t know if someone there didn’t have a mental health issue.
The husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is speaking out against the congressman’s comments.
Giffords, a Democrat, was shot and wounded outside a grocery store during a constituent gathering in 2011 in Tucson, Arizona.
In a statement, Giffords’ husband, Mark Kelly, called Norman an extremist who relies on intimidation tactics and perpetuates fear.
In the years since the shooting, Giffords and Kelly have advocated for gun control laws aimed at reducing gun violence.