Arizona state Sen. Lori Klein loves her pink Ruger pistol so much she just had to show it off to a reporter—by allegedly pointing it directly at his chest.
The pistol has no safety (because that would be crazy) and was loaded when Klein, a Republican, remarked “Oh it’s so cute,” and trained the gun’s laser sight on Arizona Republic reporter Richard Ruelas’ chest, the paper reports.
Klein insists the reporter was not in danger. “I just didn’t have my hand on the trigger,” she said in the Republic's initial account of the incident, which was detailed in a recent story about Klein’s decision to carry her loaded gun into the state Capitol only two days after the Tucson mass shooting that killed six and seriously injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, among others.
Klein said she was unaware she would be entering the House of Representatives the day she brought her gun to the Capitol, and might have considered leaving the weapon in her office. Still, she says she now carries the gun due to what she sees as lax security at the Capitol.
“It’s like an insurance policy,” she told the Republic.
Klein issued a statement on Monday evening with her version of the events, saying that she “ensured that the chamber was clear before displaying the weapon” to the reporter, adding, “That is basic gun safety and something that I do instinctively.”
She said that she won’t be giving any more interviews on the topic because it "makes little sense to contribute to a media feeding frenzy that is driven by a few individuals who never miss the opportunity to advance an anti-Second Amendment agenda.”
According to Klein’s account, she was pointing the laser sight at a wall at the request of a photographer when the Republic reporter sat down in its path. When Klein and the reporter “noticed the light,” she turned it off and apologized.
Klein said the reporter did not seem uncomfortable at the time, but that she learned several lessons. She said she will not show her gun to anyone again, because it “isn’t a fashion statement or accessory” and “if anyone wants to see a demonstration of any of my gun’s features, it will have to take place at a gun range.”
Doing this at a gun range, Klein writes, would allow someone to “better experience the enjoyment and security that hundreds of thousands of Arizonans enjoy as a result of our Second Amendment freedoms.”
Klein has carried a handgun since 2000, when someone rattled the door of her Moon Valley home. After it took police 10 minutes to respond to her call, she bought a .40 caliber revolver and slept with it.
Klein, who grew up around guns, first fired a BB gun at age six and went on childhood hunting trips with her father. According to the Republic, Klein has had “informal training sessions on each of her guns and was taught gun safety by her father.”
While Klein defends the rights of citizens to carry concealed weapons, she insists that it’s a personal choice. “I don’t like chocolate ice cream,” she said. “Am I going to force you not to have any?”
Because ice cream is exactly like guns.