Virginia state Sen. Amanda Chase (R) opened carried her firearm on the House floor on Tuesday, turning her into an overnight star among pro-Second Amendment conservatives.
“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,” Virginia Public Radio reporter Michael Pope tweeted.
Chase decided to start carrying her gun openly after a fellow state senator was surrounded by pro-immigration activists, resulting in a police response.
Chase told the Washington Post she was “concerned about safety after the incident.
“I’ve had threats. I’ve had stalkers since I’ve been in the General Assembly,” she said. “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, of course, has a concealed-carry permit. She hopes her gun will be a “deterrent” and she will never have to use it.
In another interview with the Times-Dispatch she called the gun a “deterrent for over-exuberant folks. 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,” she added.
She has good reason to want a “deterrent” too.
“I’ve had people get in my face. I’ve had people come up and try to touch me inappropriately,” she revealed. “And it is a deterrent.”
Chase also said she thinks the act of openly carrying a firearm can be empowering to other women. An armed woman is a bad guy’s worst nightmare.
“I jokingly call it my ERA,” she said.