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Lawmaker Says She “Inadvertently” Pointed Loaded Gun at Journalist

Lawmaker Says She “Inadvertently” Pointed Loaded Gun at Journalist

Lori Klein is one of the most passionate defenders of the right to carry a gun wherever one sees fit.  But she also created a sea of bad publicity for gun rights advocates when, during an interview with a journalist about her pro-gun positions, she pointed her loaded handgun at the journalist’s chest.  The gun had no safety, but she told him not to worry, because her hand wasn’t on the trigger.

Klein, a Republican Arizona state senator, got in trouble earlier this year when, two days after the Gabrielle Giffords shooting, she carried a gun to the legislature’s joint opening session.  She was showing Arizona Republic reporter Richard Ruelas her raspberry-pink handgun, in the Senate lounge, when she decided to show off the laser sighting by pointing it at Ruelas.  ”Oh, it’s so cute,” she reportedly told Ruelas, taking the loaded .380 Ruger out of her purse.

Ruelas claimed that she then aimed the gun at his chest.  Klein, however, denies that she pointed the gun at Ruelas.  She said that, at a photographer’s request, she pointed it at the wall, and as the laser beam came on, Ruelas walked over to the sofa and sat down, placing himself in the line of fire.  ”He noticed the light, then I noticed the light, then I turned it off,” she said in a statement.  Klein also denied that the gun was loaded.

Ruelas, however, says that the gun was aimed at him before the photographer even came into the room, and he has recordings of the incident, in which Klein tells a photographer, laughing, that she had aimed it at Ruelas.

Unsurprisingly, gun rights advocates are unhappy with Klein’s actions, which demonstrate just how irresponsible gun owners can be.  ”Any time when you have an incident that is embarrassing or perceived to be life-threatening by the general public this hurts the cause because it puts all gun owners in a bad light,” said Terry Allison, a gun-safety instructor and former president of the Arizona State Rifle and Pistol Association. “People are afraid when they see someone carrying a gun because they’re afraid it might be pointed at them.”

Indeed they are, and with good reason.  And although people like Allison may try to paint this as an isolated incident, it’s clear that Klein sees herself as a spokesperson for gun rights.  The fact that she still didn’t bother to follow the basic principles of gun safety while she sitting just feet from the state Senate chamber does not speak well of the other gun owners’ willingness and ability to handle guns responsibly, especially as gun rights advocates try to make guns available to as many people as possible.

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Photo from another_finn via flickr.

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2:44AM PDT on Oct 27, 2012

Interesting article and comments, thank you.

2:43AM PDT on Oct 27, 2012

Interesting article and comments, thank you.

5:25AM PDT on Aug 7, 2011

Wackos! How can she even bring a gun into a public building? Don't politicians need to go through the metal detector before entering? What kind of lousy security do they have in Arizona congressional building? And how stupid is this woman actually? Just two days after the killing spree where several people were shot, she's playing with a loaded gun! Send her to an intensive psychiatric evaluation immediately!

3:32PM PDT on Jul 24, 2011

So, whom to believe? A reporter or politician? There's a coin-toss!

IF she did indeed point the gun at him, then she needs a gun safety course. I am 100% pro-gun rights & that is 100% DANGEROUS! But IF (as is said in other articles) she was pointing at a wall & he walked into the line, then it's different. Then the Q is how fast did she move it? Should've been instantly. This AND he shouldn't have walked in front to begin with, of course!

Was the gun chambered or loaded? There's a big diff. Despite it's irrelevance, I'd like to know. But, NEVER POINT A GUN AT A LIVING BEING!

Re comments on the lack of an ext safety, The Ruger LCP .380 is a DAO (double-action-only) pistol. It has no hammer & like many DAO's has only internal safeties. It will not fire if dropped & has a long ~1.5" trigger pull- one has to pull all the way through. But, NEVER POINT A GUN AT A LIVING BEING!

Gun-grabbers have gotten dangerously stupid. Where are the Care 2 articles on Operation Fast & Furious? It took the deaths of cops/ATF agents to expose it. Why? Why is it media-city whenever a bad thing occurs w/guns, but when guns do good (more often) it's rarely mentioned. Jared Loughner was the world's focus b/c he used a gun w/large clip. Our own ATF starts Operation F&F & our media sweeps it under the rug.

Target practice & gun safety help to develop many positive traits- focus, concentration, practice, patience, etc. I know law-abiding people who'd be dead

2:44PM PDT on Jul 19, 2011

I think she should be arrested.

9:51AM PDT on Jul 16, 2011

Over and over gun advocates try to make the point that guns are not the problem, that it's a people problem...and they're right but people are the ones with the guns so it's a circular argument. People can and do break down, for significant reasons and for no reason at all beyond the fact that they are fallible human beings. Unfortunately when they break down the results can go from the realm of personal tragedy to a massacre in the time it takes to pull a trigger. GUNS ARE THE PROBLEM and we can see that in the difference between our society with its emphasis on private gun ownership and those that limit it, just by looking at the violence carried out with guns in this country.

2:02AM PDT on Jul 16, 2011

Is it not a condition of gun ownership to have a thorough knowledge of firearm safety?
If not, why not?
And maybe an IQ test might be in order .....

And ... she's a senator ???
I'm surprised she's not out there giving Michelle and Sarah et al a run for their money in the presidential stakes !!

8:24PM PDT on Jul 15, 2011

Guns don't kill. People do. No one outside the military/security should be permitted to have a weapon. Considering the numbers of mentally unstable, the drunks, the terminally stupid, extremists and criminals, no one should be permitted to carry lethal weapons. What is wrong with those who would defend their "right" to bear arms as a fundamental and constitutional freedom?

7:28PM PDT on Jul 15, 2011

Even the NRA thinks she's crazy-- quite a comment!

2:56PM PDT on Jul 15, 2011

No one should be allowed to carry a weapon into an area that such a threat could be used for coercion. And to allow such in a congressional chamber or building is tantamount to approving the take over of our government by armed extremeists.
And as to the irresponsible actions of this gun nut, Lori Klien should be stripped of her legal riughtr to gun ownership and carry priviledge because of extreme poor judgement and pratice.
Even if she did NOT point the weapon at anyone the exposing of a weapon in such conditions and in a government area demonstrates the inability to rationally act in ones or the publics safety and best interest.
It was the demonstrative actions that lead to a judges death and a Congresswomans near fatal shooting in Arizona and a representative of the people should be sensitive to the safety and emotional comfort of the people of her state.
The Chicagoan

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