‘I’m tired of the NRA being demonized’: House Republican defends pulling out loaded gun at meeting

Ralph Norman has no regrets.

CREDIT: SCREENGRAB
CREDIT: SCREENGRAB

During a Monday morning interview on Fox & Friends, Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) said he has no regrets about pulling out a loaded gun during a meeting with constituents last Friday morning.

Asked if he’d do it again, Norman said, “absolutely. I didn’t do anything wrong.”

“The only reason I pulled a gun out — or placed the gun at a table — was to prove a point that the gun doesn’t shoot by itself,” Norman said.

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Norman said he pulled out his gun to make a point to members of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America who were in attendance when Norman met with constituents at a diner in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Regarding his conversation with those moms, Norman said that at one point he told them, “I’m tired of the NRA being demonized, and I’m tired of guns in and of themselves being demonized as the problem.”

“And the fella sitting in front of me said, ‘Ralph, don’t you carry a gun?’ I said, ‘absolutely I do.’ And then I reached in my pocket, safely pulled out the gun and laid it down in front of me,” Norman continued. “And I said, ‘this gun doesn’t shoot by itself. It takes a person behind it.’ And then I put the gun back in my pocket. Then the next thing I know, front page news, ‘congressman Ralph Norman pulls a gun at an event.'”

While Norman doesn’t believe he did anything wrong, the South Carolina Democratic Party isn’t so sure. The New York Times reports that the party “has called on the authorities to revoke his permit and investigate,” citing a statute “that says it is illegal for a person to ‘present or point’ a firearm at another person.”

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One of the Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense volunteers who was at the meeting, Lori Freemon, told the Times that as she was sitting with Norman after he pulled out his gun, “I was thinking, ‘I don’t think what he’s doing is legal,’”

“I was very angry,” Freemon said. “I felt like it was a move to intimidate.”

Norman has also been criticized by former congresswoman and gun violence survivor Gabrielle Giffords, who tweeted on Saturday that “[s]erving in Congress is about listening and leadership, not intimidation and showmanship. When ‘leaders’ make constituents feel unsafe, they have no place in elected office.”

Asked about Giffords’ comments during his Fox & Friends interview, Norman praised her as “a hero” and “survivor,” but said that “my point there was, if somebody had had a loaded handgun [when Giffords was shot during a constituent event in 2011], that could have stopped her shooting, that would have been a good thing.”

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“I believe the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, and evidently the left does not believe that,” he added.

While Norman may not believe that guns are part of America’s problem with gun violence, the fact remains that other countries with stricter gun control policies experience much less of it than the United States does.

Norman also addressed the controversy generated by his actions in a statement released Saturday in which he attacked the media for “pushing a narrative that is not true” and claimed the “the real root of violence in our nation” is “the breakdown in moral and spiritual values.”