Arizona state Sen. Lori Klein (R), a gun-rights champion, keeps a loaded raspberry-pink handgun in her purse, and during an interview with Arizona Republic reporter Richard Ruelas, she took it out and pointed it at him.
"Oh, it's so cute," Klein said, before aiming the gun at Ruelas's chest to show off the red beam of the laser sight. Klein's gun, a .380 Ruger, has no safety, but the senator assured Ruelas that he wasn't in danger.
"I just didn't have my hand on the trigger," she said.
Klein told the Arizona Republic that she owns a number of guns and has had "informal" training sessions on each of them, and that she was taught gun safety by her father.
Local gun activists have criticized Klein for pointing her gun at Ruelas, however.
Rob Mermelstein, the range master of the Phoenix Rod and Gun Club, told the Arizona Guardian, that Klein's actions were "unconscionable."
"Whoever would do something like that needs to have a better grounding in gun safety before ever laying a hand on a firearm," he said.
The shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) on January 8 has reignited the national debate over gun control. President Barack Obama called for stronger gun laws in the wake of the shooting, and HuffPost's Sam Stein reported last week that the Obama administration is preparing to release a series of reforms in the near future.
According to the Daily Beast the changes will include:
- A national electronic system designed to make background checks for handgun buyers simpler and faster, leaving an electronic paper trail under a law named for Ronald Reagan's press secretary James Brady, who was wounded in the 1981 assassination attempt.
- A new reporting requirement that federally licensed gun shops report any person who tries to buy two long-arm weapons near the Mexican border over a five-day period.
- Tougher sentencing guidelines for straw buyers that Holder's department pushed through procedural hoops at the U.S. Sentencing Commission earlier this year.
In Arizona, Klein's handgun has become a symbol of the gun control debate, and while she supports those who want the right to carry guns, she says it's a personal choice that she isn't forcing on anyone.
"I don't like chocolate ice cream," she told the Arizona Republic. "Am I going to force you not to have any?"