Close-up of a box of .380 ACP bullets. The bullets are being displayed atop the box, sans the packing brick.
Sen. Lori Klein's raspberry-pink Ruger was loaded with some of these. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/Mike Petrucci/Flickr)

Reports indicate that Arizona Republican Sen. Lori Klein, a champion of gun rights and gun safety, allegedly pointed a loaded .380 Ruger handgun at a journalist’s chest just outside state Senate chambers. The safety was off and the laser sight was on, reports the Arizona Republic.

No safety on the little pink .380

Arizona gun laws have been under intense scrutiny since Jared Loughner shot down state Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Lori Klein pointing her gun at a reporter adds more fuel to the fire. Yet the senator from Anthem, Ariz., didn’t seem overly concerned when she addressed the media following her encounter with reporter Richard Ruelas.

“I just didn’t have my hand on the trigger,” said Klein.

Reporter does not say he felt threatened

According to the Arizona Guardian, Ruelas was questioning Klein’s views on gun control when the senator pulled the raspberry pink .380 Ruger from her purse. While Ruelas has not gone on record as saying he felt threatened, the backlash against Klein has resounded like a gunshot at an indoor firing range.

“Whoever would do something like that needs to have a better grounding in gun safety before ever laying a hand on a firearm,” said Rob Mermelstein, range master of the Phoenix Rod and Gun Club.

Mermelstein chastised Klein for her “unconscionable” action, and he made it clear that such instances hurt the cause of responsible gun owners and potentially jeopardize citizens’ Second Amendment rights.

Klein brought a loaded gun to chambers

A mere two days after the Gabrielle Giffords tragedy in Tucson, Lori Klein made headlines by sporting a loaded gun in Arizona House and Senate chambers. Klein allegedly told Ruelas her pink pistol was “so cute” before she pulled it out.

“She had (the gun) out, and I looked down and saw the red dot on my chest,” Ruelas said.

Klein may be arrested

Veteran criminal defense attorney Robert Kavanagh of Chandler, Ariz., pointed out that aiming a loaded weapon at another person constitutes aggravated assault in most cases. If Klein was justifiably defending herself or if Ruelas had agreed that pointing the gun was acceptable, infringement upon the law could have been avoided, Kavanagh told the Arizona Guardian.

As it stands, even if neither Ruelas nor his employer The Arizona Republic newspaper presses charges against Lori Klein, authorities can still arrest her. However, such a move is unlikely to occur, according to Kavanagh.

Don’t point at what you won’t shoot

Klein has insisted that she informed Ruelas that the chamber of the .380 Ruger was clear before she pointed the gun at him. Fellow Arizona state Sen. Steve Gallardo (D-Phoenix) has called for an ethics investigation of Klein.

Sen. Ron Gould (R-Lake Havasu City), a gun owner and chairman of the Ethics Committee, doesn’t believe an investigation is necessary. However, he has condemned Klein’s action.

“I agree that it’s a violation of the first rule of gun safety, which is don’t point a gun at anything you’re not willing to shoot,” said Gould.

Lori Klein responds to protesters

Sources

AZCentral.com: http://bit.ly/po5mDI

Arizona Guardian: http://bit.ly/oiomiA

Lori Klein for Senate: http://kleinforsenate.net/index.html

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