- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 17, 2019

A female state lawmaker in Virginia openly carried a handgun on the Senate floor this week, calling it a deterrent against potential attackers.

State Sen. Amanda Chase, a first-term Republican who is seeking reelection this year, spoke on the Senate floor Tuesday with a .38-caliber revolver openly strapped to her hip, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

“Sometimes it’s a deterrent for over-exuberant folks,” she told the paper.

“Unfortunately in the General Assembly we see the good, we see the bad, we see all types of things,” she said. “It’s just for personal safety, quite honestly.”

Ms. Chase said she always carries concealed in the Virginia State Capitol but decided to carry the gun openly following an incident Monday in which the police were called on a mob of immigration activists who confronted Republican state Sen. Dick Black.

“It concerned me,” Ms. Chase told The Washington Post about the incident. “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.”

“I’ve had people get in my face. I’ve had people come up and try to touch me inappropriately,” she said. “And it” — the gun — “is a deterrent.”

Virginia requires a permit for concealed carry but not for open carry, and the rules concerning guns in the state Capitol are “notoriously loose,” The Post reported.

At least five of Ms. Chase’s Republican colleagues in the Senate also carry guns, but they keep them concealed, The Post reported.

Ms. Chase said she’s aware the gun’s presence might “raise an eyebrow with people” but said the reception has been “very positive” so far.

“I’ve been called a ‘badass,’” she told The Post.

“It empowers women,” she added. “I jokingly call it my ERA.”

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