The tragic shooting on Wednesday that left a Republican congressman in critical condition has at least one of his fellow politicians pledging to now carry a gun at all of his public appearances.
Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) wasn’t on the baseball field Wednesday morning, when authorities say James T. Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois, opened fire on Republican congressmen and their staffers, but the event has certainly changed the way he plans to secure his own safety.
Collins told WKBW-TV that he won’t be venturing out to public events anymore without his 9 mm handgun, pledging to keep it in his pocket “from this day forward.”
“It’s got all the punch you need,” he said, noting that he now has additional security in his home and office as well.
Collins added that the shooting has changed the way he plans to secure his events.
From now on, he will request an armed officer at all of his public events, again noting that the Wednesday’s horrific shooting, which left House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-L.A.) in critical condition and four others with injuries, was the catalyst for these changes.
“We may have smaller public events that we would not be so inclined to in the past have made that request,” Collins told WKBW-TV. “But we will be making that request in the aftermath of what just happened.”
Collins told CNN that he previously kept a gun in the glove compartment of his car, but that the event has now changed his way of thinking.
“I’ve had a carry permit for 30 years, and I would say off and on in different instances where I have, you know, felt it was appropriate, I would carry the weapon on myself,” he told the outlet. “Certainly in the short term I’m going to go a step beyond just having it in the glove box in my car and I will be carrying.”
Collins also pledged to try and strike a more civil tone of political discourse in the wake of the attack.