Rep. Collins to carry handgun at public events

AMHERST, N.Y. (WKBW) - Tuesday’s shooting in Virginia has shaken the sense of security for many, including one local congressman. “That’s all changed as of today,” Congressman Chris Collins explained.

That’s why Collins said he'll now carry his 9 mm handgun at all public events in the district. “It's going to be in my pocket from this day forward. It's got all the punch you need,” he said.

Collins also plans to have an armed police officer at all his public events moving forward. “We may have smaller public events that we would not be so inclined to in the past have made that request. But we will be making that request in the aftermath of what just happened.”

A decision meant to keep Collins, staff and constituents safe. While armed officers at all events is new, Collins said safety concerns are not. “We put new security in my offices. I'm moving an office I can't secure. I know have cameras in my home I've lived in for 24 years and never had cameras before,” Collins said.

In contrast, democratic Congressman Brian Higgins said security at events will remain status quo. 7 Eyewitness News Reporter, Ali Touhey asked “Will it change security protocol for you at public events moving forward?” “No, I don't think so,” Higgins said. “We are as cautious as we need to be.>

Republican Congressman Tom Reed declined to comment on security at his events.

A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said it's premature to discuss any security changes moving forward. Schumer chose to show gratitude on the senate floor for the capitol police force and its actions during the shooting. “I could not be more grateful that Capitol Police were there at a time to prevent this attack from being any worse than it was.”

Binghamton Congresswoman Claudia Tenney received an email with a death threat following the shooting saying “one down 216 to go.” But, none of our local reps have reported any threats.

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