Amanda Chase, a Virginia state senator, comes to work loaded and ready to go with a very visible gun on her hip.
Several photos of the Republican politician carrying a .38-caliber revolver strapped to her hip while voting on laws at the state Capitol in Richmond grabbed headlines and sparked a heated debate.
Chase told reporters she is openly walking around with a weapon because she is determined to prevent and confront violent protests and other potential threats.
The freshman legislator confessed she fears for her life after watching a group of immigration activists confronts her colleague, state Sen. Richard H. Black.
The passionate activists were angry at Mr. Black's support of a bill that bans sanctuary cities such as San Francisco.
Mrs. Chase went on to explain that she obtained a concealed carry permit several years ago, and therefore all her actions are legal.
The conservative legislator added that visibly wearing a revolver makes her feel more confident.
She stated: “It empowers women. I jokingly call it my ERA.” Mrs. Chase said she has had positive reception and her gun has earned her the nickname “badass.”
However, some critics are blasting Chase for what they call a poor decision to carry a loaded gun on the Virginia Senate floor.
“I think the Capitol Police are well trained and do a fabulous job,” stated Brian Moran, Virginia’s secretary of public safety and homeland security. “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.”
State Senate Minority Leader Richard L. Saslaisw (D) mocked Chase and said her second nickname should be “Senator Annie Oakley Chase.”
Mr. Saslaw stated: “If she gets in an argument, what’s she gonna [do], pull out a gun and shoot them? I just think it’s absurd.”
A few incidents have occurred because of legislators carrying weapons in the Capitol.
Republican state Sen. John Cosgrove forgot a loaded gun in a committee room in 2017.
Former Del. John Reid, also a Republican, accidentally fired his gun in his office in 2006.
Should h be allowed?