Virginia state Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) is not taking any chances with her personal security at work, and has begun openly carrying her gun at the Capitol, according to The Washington Post.
Chase, who previously concealed her firearm when she brought it to work, said she's seen too many threats from angry constituents and protesters to worry about what people think of her openly carrying.
"I've had people get in my face," Chase said. "I've had people come up and try to touch me inappropriately. And [the gun] is a deterrent."
Not the only one armed
It's actually relatively common for legislators in Virginia to have their guns at work. According to the Post, six of the 21 Republican state senators carry their guns with them on the Senate floor. Visitors to the Capitol can bring weapons in if they have a concealed-carry permit.
There have been some gun-related mishaps. One state senator left his loaded gun in a committee room in 2017, and in 2006, a delegate accidentally fired his gun in his office, although no one was injured.
Why Chase started openly carrying
Chase said she's had threats and stalkers since being elected to the General Assembly, and she also cited an instance where a fellow state senator, Richard Black (R-Loudoun), was allegedly mobbed by immigration activists after he introduced a bill to ban sanctuary cities.
"I am going to continue to represent the issues that are important to my constituents, and I'm not going to be intimidated by people who would try to physically harm me," Chase said.
Does anyone oppose her decision?
The Post cited a couple sources that were not comfortable with her decision to openly carry at the Capitol, such as Senate Minority Leader Richard Saslaw (D-Fairfax).
"If she gets in an argument, what's she gonna do, pull out a gun and shoot them? I just think it's absurd," Saslaw said.
Chase isn't worried about her critics, however, and says most people support her.
"I've had a very positive reception," Chase said. "I've been called a 'badass.'"