Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) was speaking with constituents about gun policy at a diner on Friday when he decided to place his own loaded handgun on a table in service to a point.
"I'm not going to be a Gabby Giffords," he told Charleston's Post and Courier, referring to former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who survived being shot in the head while talking to constituents outside a grocery store. "I don't mind dying," Norman added, "but whoever shoots me better shoot well or I'm shooting back." Later, he said to CNN he "merely proved a point that guns themselves are not the issue;" criminality and mental illness are.
Norman quickly came under criticism for his method of argumentation, especially for his remark about Giffords. "I sincerely hope you never have to experience what my friend @gabbygiffords experienced," Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) wrote on Twitter Saturday. "But to suggest that she might have avoided being shot had she carried a weapon as she spoke to constituents that morning is inappropriate and inconsiderate."