Lawmaker Packs Heat on the Senate Floor as 'Message' to Immigration Activists
Republican freshman legislator Sen. Amanda Chase openly carries pistol
A Virginia state senator has begun packing heat on the Senate floor, saying she is sending a "message" to potentially violent immigration activists, who she says have made "threats" toward her.
Republican freshman lawmaker Sen. Amanda Chase describes the .38-caliber revolver strapped to her hip a “deterrent” against confrontational protesters and other potential threats.
Senator Chase says she became concerned for her safety after a group of immigration activists confronted her colleague, state Sen. Richard H. Black, on Monday, over his bill to ban sanctuary cities.
Chase - who revealed she has long held a concealed carry permit - has been seen in the Virginia state Capitol in Richmond visibly wearing a revolver since Tuesday.
“I’ve had people get in my face,” Chase said in a statement.
"I’ve had people come up and try to touch me inappropriately.
“I’ve had threats. I’ve had stalkers since I’ve been in the General Assembly.”
But Chase declared she would not “be intimidated by people who would try to physically harm me.”
Chase wore the revolver on the floor of the Virginia state Senate on Tuesday while presenting two bills in the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee, including an alternative to the Equal Rights Amendment resolution that reaffirms equal protection under the law, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.
Sen. Amanda Chase @a_chase11 #VASD11 packing heat in the Senate Courts of Justice Committee presenting her bill allowing firefighters and EMTs who are former law enforcement officers or vets to carry concealed weapons without a permit https://t.co/8pfXLE3MbH pic.twitter.com/mWnHowvIuq— Michael Pope (@MichaelLeePope) January 16, 2019
According to Fox News, She described openly carrying guns as empowering women and even likened it to her own Equal Rights Amendment.
Chase told the Washington Post that some of her colleagues were on board with the move but others thought it was unnecessary.
“[I]f any member has concerns, they really should express those to Capitol Police so they feel secure while they’re doing the people’s business in the people’s house,” said Democrat Brian Moran, Virginia’s secretary of public safety and homeland security.
Democratic state Senate Minority Leader Richard L. Saslaw mocked the gesture, joking: “If she gets in an argument, what’s she gonna [do], pull out a gun and shoot them? I think it’s absurd.”
But being a public figure, Chase said, can make a person vulnerable to those who may get too overheated about political issues.
“Sometimes it’s a deterrent for over-exuberant folks," Chase told the Times-Dispatch, referring to her gun.
"Unfortunately in the General Assembly we see the good, we see the bad, we see all types of things.
"It’s just for personal safety, quite honestly.”