After James T. Hodgkinson opened fire at a GOP Congressional baseball practice, Rep. Chris Collins, a Republican from Buffalo, New York, said he would start carrying a firearm with him whenever he is out in public, including during events. Collins, referring to his 9 mm handgun, said, “It’s going to be in my pocket from this day forward.”
The shooting in Virginia has many concerned about security, including government officials. As reported by WKBW, Collins intends to have armed police officers accompany him to all of his public events going forward though he also plans to carry his pistol with him as well.
“We may have smaller public events that we would not be so inclined to in the past have made that request,” said Collins in regards to having an armed officer available. “But we will be making that request in the aftermath of what just happened.”
Collins did confirm he had a permit to carry the weapon, saying, “If you look at the vulnerability, I assure you: I have a carry permit. I will be carrying when I’m out and about.” He went on to say, “On a rare occasion I’d have my gun in a glove box or something, but it’s going to be in my pocket from this day forward.”
Police in Alexandria, Virginia stated five people were taken to the hospital after Hodgkinson opened fire, including Rep. Steve Scalise, the House Majority Whip. Collins was not present at the practice.
Collins was the first House member to endorse President Donald Trump while he was on the campaign trail, and has since been a key backer of the president.
Not all lawmakers intend to change their security procedures after the incident. Brian Higgins, a Democratic Congressman, when asked whether the event would “change security protocol for you at public events” replied, “No, I don’t think so.” He continued, “We are as cautious as we need to be.”
After the event, Congresswoman Claudia Tenney from Binghamton, New York did receive an email that contained a death threat which read “one down 216 to go,” though it is unknown if the threat is credible.