This past Friday, April 6, during a public meeting over breakfast in Rock Hill, SC, Representative Ralph Norman (R-SC) decided to bring his views on Gun Control laws out into the open. The lawmaker from South Carolina made a bold statement about gun violence when he pulled out his loaded .38-caliber handgun, placing it on the table for several minutes while he made his case. Norman’s stance was made clear when he said, “I’m not going to be a Gabby Giffords,” referring to the former Arizona representative, who was shot in her hometown during a constituent meeting in 2011.

He goes on to say, “I don’t mind dying, but whoever shoots me better shoot well, or I’m shooting back," Washington Post reported.

This unfolding of emotions was to demonstrate that, “guns don’t shoot people, people shoot guns,” [VIDEO] and although this senator may strongly believe this, the backlash he has since received is tremendous.

Who is Gabby Giffords?

Back in 2000, Gabby Giffords was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives, representing the 8th District of Arizona, and serving in Congress until 2012. According to their website, Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun violence, this representative is known as a political moderate and has dedicated her life to ridding the world of gun violence.

This kind of devotion has come from intrinsic power due to the events on January 8, 2011, when Gabby was shot, among over 20 others, during a meeting in Tucson, Arizona. Despite her critical condition, this traumatic event led Gabby and her husband, Captain Mark Kelly (both reputable gun owners), to form an organization known as Giffords, to fight the gun violence epidemic.

From the looks of Rep. Norman’s presentation, this senator is making the claim that the way to stop this never-ending war on gun violence is not to hide from it, but instead to bring it out into the open. His overlying point is that guns are only dangerous in the hands of a criminal and that his fellow people should feel a sense of relief knowing that he is protecting them.

In reply to Rep. Ralph Norman’s statement, Mark Kelly, the retired astronaut, Navy veteran and Giffords husband was quoted by Washington Post, saying that “Congressman Norman is right – he’s no Gabby Giffords.” Additionally, he later tweeted, “When I think of @GabbyGiffords, I think of courage and public service, not intimidating constituents-.”

Backlash on Norman's displays of emotion

Also attending the constituents meeting on Friday was a volunteer group for the South Carolina chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and these ladies did not like what they saw. In a report by Slate, Lori Freemon, one of the volunteers and a school teacher in Charlotte, NC, claimed “Rep. Norman’s behavior today was a far cry from what responsible gun ownership looks like.

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.”

This response is not uncommon among those who witnessed Norman's actions this past Friday, and the backlash is not predicted to stop any time soon.

Mark Kelly recently issued another statement on his own website, Giffords, regarding the Congressman's comments, "Americans are increasingly faced with a stark choice: leaders like Gabby, who work hard together to find solutions to problems, or extremists like the NRA and Congressman Norman, who rely on intimidation tactics and perpetuating fear.”

Although this Representative's motives are quite clear - pointing out that guns are not the problem - his blind strides towards gaining support are not met with acceptance. The question now is, how will the public interpret Norman's newfound plan and his promise to conduct this same demonstration moving forward?