GOP congressman Ralph Norman pulled out a loaded handgun at a meeting with gun control advocates

Unless you don’t have access to the news in any form, you’re probably aware of the major problem of gun violence in the United States. Sadly, we’ve grown disturbingly used to hearing about gun deaths in all corners of the country. Yet not much has happened in the way of gun control in America since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. In fact, there seems to be a new shooting at least every week, whether it’s another school or an all-too-familiar case of intimate partner violence. It’s nothing short of devastating.

But after the February 14th mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, the conversation surrounding gun control seems to have shifted. While plenty of people and organizations have been demanding gun reform for years, even more people are now speaking up. We’ve seen walkouts at schools across the country, not to mention the huge March For Our Lives rallies around the world. Meanwhile, many elected officials continue to not take the issue seriously, trotting out familiar tropes like, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” or “It’s a mental health issue.”

And sometimes, what they do is even worse.

During a constituent event on Friday, April 6th, Republican Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina pulled out a loaded gun as he talked about gun rights.

Even worse? Ralph Norman was meeting with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America at the time.

In a statement, Norman said he “merely proved a point that guns themselves are not the issue.” He also referred to the Moms Demand Action members as “a group of organized anti-gun activists,” according to Politico.

"Given the scenario that if someone had walked into that diner and began to fire a weapon, I told them I would be able to defend myself and them as well," Norman continued. "I'm tired of these liberals jumping on the guns themselves as if they are the cause of the problem. Guns are not the problem."

Ralph Norman later made highly offensive comments about former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was seriously injured in a shooting during a constituent meeting in 2011.

"I’m not going to be a Gabby Giffords, Norman told local newspaper The Post and Courier after the constituent meeting. “I don’t mind dying, but whoever shoots me better shoot well or I’m shooting back.

Unsurprisingly, Ralph Norman’s actions completely missed the mark.

"Rep. Norman’s behavior today was a far cry from what responsible gun ownership looks like," Moms Demand Action volunteer Lori Freemon said in a statement. "I had looked forward to a respectful dialogue with my representative about common-sense gun violence prevention policies. 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.

Setting a loaded gun on a table is a clear intimidation tactic, and it’s shameful that Rep. Norman tried to prove his point by brandishing a weapon and putting others in potential danger.

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