What a Virginia state senator chose to wear and how she chose to wear it to a committee meeting on Tuesday has earned national attention.
A day after Capitol Police were called to the scene when a Republican was "swarmed" by pro-immigration activists angered by his anti-"sanctuary cities" bill, first-term State Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) decided it was a good time to not just conceal carry, as she often does, but open carry — as a "deterrent for over-exuberant folks."
Chase, who beat the odds and won in 2015, defeating incumbent Republican Sen. Stephen H. Martin in the primary and then easily besting Democrat Wayne Powell in the general election, showed up to the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee meeting in the state capitol on Tuesday with her .38 caliber revolver in plain sight on her right hip.
It was secured in what the Richmond Times-Dispatch notes is a "custom-made holster."
"Sometimes it's a deterrent for over-exuberant folks. Unfortunately in the General Assembly we see the good, we see the bad, we see all types of things,” said Chase, the Times-Dispatch reports. "It's just for personal safety, quite honestly."
The paper points out that concealed carry in the state requires a permit, but anyone's free to open carry.
A day earlier, Republican State Sen. Dick Black (Loudoun) told his colleagues in the Senate that he had been "swarmed" by activists apparently incensed bout his illegal immigration legislation targeting "sanctuary city" policies. The activists were "confrontational" enough that Capitol Police were called to intervene.
The Times-Dispatch notes that Chase presented her own potentially controversial legislation to the committee on Tuesday that included an alternative to the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which passed Tuesday with bipartisan support.
"The state Senate voted in favor of legislation Tuesday to approve the gender-equality amendment," the Associated Press reports. Having cleared the Senate, it will now go to House, where "its chances for passage are unclear" after failing to pass last year.
The Equal Rights Amendment is "a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution designed to guarantee equal legal rights for all American citizens regardless of sex; it seeks to end the legal distinctions between men and women in terms of divorce, property, employment, and other matters."
If Virginia ratifies the ERA, it will be the 38th state to do so, which would meet the amendment's ratification threshold. However, as AP notes, even if the EPA reaches the threshold, it has already failed to meet the 1982 deadline set by Congress a decade earlier, so legal experts are unsure if it can be revived.
Along with Virginia, the states that have yet to ratify the amendment are Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Utah.