Politics

Arizona St. Sen. Lori Klein Points Gun at Reporter

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

It was a short, offhand section of a profile of a state senator in Arizona, but it has created a nationwide firestorm of controversy over guns -- because the politician aimed her gun at a reporter.

Richard Ruelas of The Arizona Republic was interviewing State Sen. Lori Klein about her decision to bring her "cute" raspberry-pink handgun into the state capitol just two days after the Tucson shooting in January, when she took out the gun.

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Ruelas wrote:

"Oh, it's so cute," Klein said, as she unzipped the loaded Ruger from its carrying case to show a reporter and photographer. She was sitting on a leather couch in a lounge, just outside the Senate chamber.

She showed off the laser sighting by pointing the red beam at the reporter's chest. The gun has no safety, she said, but there was no need to worry.

"I just didn't have my hand on the trigger," she said.

Ruelas said he didn't know the gun was loaded until later on during the interview. 

After the story came out, Klein at first denied pointing the gun at Ruelas, telling the Arizona Capitol Times that the reporter sat down in front of where she was pointing it.

But in a subsequent statement, Klein didn't mention that version, only saying she would offer no further comment so as not "to contribute to a media feeding frenzy that is driven by a few individuals who never miss the opportunity to advance an anti-2nd-Amendment agenda."

The Arizona Republic said the interview was recorded, and it backs up the reporter's story. 

Klein is finding little support, even among gun advocates and her fellow Republicans.

"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 of the Phoenix Rod and Gun Club told the paper.

"I kind of cringed when I read that she had done that," Senate Ethics Rule Chair Ron Gould, a Republican, told the Capitol Times. "She wasn't brandishing the weapon. I think she just thought it would be cute to shine the laser sight on the reporter. I personally don't like seeing that kind of thing—because that's how people get killed."