By Nichole Shaw
On April 6, Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., pulled out his .38 caliber handgun in a constituent meeting at a coffee shop. This is unacceptable. His notion that the best way to handle war on gun violence is to bring it out in the open is correct, because engaging discussion needs to be made, but the abrupt placement of a gun on a table at a meeting with your constituents is not the most responsible move. In fact, it is rather appalling and distasteful as a legislative leader in the community.
On Fox News, Norman said, “The only reason I pulled a gun out, well, placed the gun on the table, was to prove the point that the gun doesn’t shoot by itself.” He furthermore wanted people to understand that guns are only dangerous in the hands of criminals and people should trust him more because they know he can protect them with his gun.
This is an absolutely ridiculous statement. Why would his pulling out a concealed weapon at a coffee shop for about five to 10 minutes make anyone feel safer? His actions and thought process in his performance, so to speak, are not only illogical but illegal; in South Carolina, it’s against the law to “present or point” a firearm at people. At around 8 a.m. in a coffee shop, one can only imagine the number of people who were there and how a gun was being presented or pointed at them with his blatantly illogical placement of the gun on table.
Lori Freemon, a member of the South Carolina Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said, “Rep. Norman’s behavior today was a far cry from what responsible gun ownership looks like … I felt unsafe when he insisted on showing us his loaded gun and keeping it out on the table for much of our conversation.” Testaments like this one from his constituents shows the dangerous NRA-extremist mindset that Norman has in instilling a sense of fear in others. His performance at a quaint coffee shop was wildly distasteful. The once cozy coffee shop was filled with anxiety at the presence of a loaded gun.
Norman also referenced former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., who was one of 20 people shot at a constituent meeting in 2011. Since then, Giffords has become a pioneer for ending gun violence in America. “I’m not going to be Gabby Giffords,” Norman said when talking to Post & Courier. This is a completely uncalled for and inexcusable statement by Norman. Comments such as this basically taunt Giffords for her inaction against a mass shooter and are inappropriate. The idea that had she carried a gun, she wouldn’t have been shot is baffling and plain inconsiderate.
A post by Gifford’s husband and retired astronaut showcases the wrongful nature in which Norman approached the topic of gun violence. He invited rightful resentment towards himself by taking an ungracious dig at Giffords.
I’m sure when the Second Amendment was created, the founders didn’t intend for performances such as Norman’s, where handguns are pulled out in a public place for no reason other than to intimidate others and coerce them into believing his argument that guns aren’t the problem in an extreme and radical show of power.