Arizona State Sen. Lori Klein pointed a loaded Ruger pistol at a reporter from the Arizona Republic during an interview yesterday. According to the reporter, Richard Ruelas, Klein pointed the compact gun at his chest not to threaten or frighten him, but to show off the pink pistol’s laser sight.
Klein maintains that Ruelas was in no danger, even though the gun was fully loaded and has no safety, since she didn’t put her finger on the trigger. But even gun-rights supporters were quick to criticize Klein, who has never had formal gun-safety training.
“Whoever would do something like that needs to have a better grounding in gun safety before ever laying a hand on a firearm,” Rob Mermelstein, range master at the Phoenix Rod and Gun Club, told the Arizona Guardian. The number one rule of gun safety, at least according to the NRA, is to always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
Klein could face criminal charges for her reckless decision to point the gun at Ruelas. “Generally speaking,” longtime defense attorney Robert Kavanaugh explained to the Arizona Republic, “when a person points a gun at someone that’s considered an aggravated assault,” which is a felony charge.
This is not the first time Klein’s taste for guns has caused controversy. On January 10, two days after the tragic shooting that seriously wounded Arizona Sen. Gabriel Giffords, Klein tried to bring her loaded pistol into the state capitol. When she was stopped by security, she insisted she had a right to carry a concealed firearm into the capitol building. Since the Arizona Senate actually allows members to carry concealed firearms in the chamber, she was eventually allowed in.