Despite, the prevalent gun culture in the State of Virginia, when Sen. Amanda Chase, a Republican freshman seeking reelection this year, raised eyebrows by openly carrying a gun strapped to her hip on the Senate floor.
Gun rules have been lenient in Mr. Jefferson’s Capitol. It has been observed that even visitors are allowed to carry guns. As reported, even in the Senate, six of twenty one Republicans carry guns with them on the floor. However, they tend to keep their weapons concealed. Chase too followed the drill but only until this week.
As per Amanda Chase, She had suffered incidents wherein people got to her face and have tried to touch her inappropriately and wearing a gun openly works as a deterrent for her.
“I respect that it may raise an eyebrow with people, so I always conceal-carry,” said Chase, who owns a small financial services business. “I don’t want to raise an alarm for other people.”
The sudden change of behavior in context to carrying gun openly to the senate floor happened because of a recent incident. Chase’s colleague, Richard H. Black (R-Loudoun), recently witnessed an encounter with immigration activists who mobbed him Monday after he presented his bill to ban sanctuary cities. Apparently, due to this incident Amanda Chase decided that wearing gun openly might deter such incidents.
She herself too accepted that during the encounter with Black she was too cornered. She also said, “I’ve had threats. I’ve had stalkers since I’ve been in the General Assembly. 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.”
Where some senators have took it on a positive note others have been critical of Chase’s act.
Senate Minority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) suggested another nickname: “Senator Annie Oakley Chase.”
He said that, “If she gets in an argument, what’s she gonna [do], pull out a gun and shoot them? I just think it’s absurd.”
Brian Moran, Virginia’s secretary of public safety and homeland security said, “I think the Capitol Police are well trained and do a fabulous job.”
“And if 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.”
However, it has hardly affected preferences of Amanda Chase. She has been a conservative critique of federal Equal Rights Amendment. She had expressed that she feels all the more confident since she began openly carrying her gun. In fact, she believes that “It empowers women.”