Delegate Kathy Afzali says she's been shopping for a hobby lately, and she may have found one: guns.
Afzali joined local NRA master training counselor Ben Kelkye on Monday for what she termed a "gun run" to Emmitsburg. A photo from the trip shows her posing with the new purchases, a handgun in her right hand and a rifle in her left. The shotgun she'd bought also figured in the photograph, sent to The Frederick News-Post late Monday night.
Of course, Monday was also the day of the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard. Afzali said she and Kelkye had planned their trip to Stateline Gun Exchange a couple of days in advance, and the shooting didn't play into their decision to go. From her perspective, there is no relationship between the two, she said.
"These kinds of incidents are heartbreaking, and we just grieve when somebody goes crazy, but that has nothing to do with sane, lawful gun owners," said Afzali, R-District 4A.
But she did say it is obvious that people need the capacity to protect themselves. Though she doesn't know whether Monday's shooting drove others to gun stores, she noted that the Exchange was packed with people when she visited.
"In our troubled world, it is clear that you need to be able to defend yourself," she said.
Her firearms will be used for self-defense and should be ready for pickup Thursday, she said, and her family is planning to take their first shooting lessons Sunday.
West endorses Bongino's bid
Dan Bongino, the former U.S. Secret Service agent who is running to represent western Maryland in the House of Representatives, has received an endorsement from the Allen West Guardian Fund.
Bongino was one of the first four endorsements made by the fund for the 2014 election cycle.
"I am both proud and honored to receive the endorsement of Lt. Col. West, a man who has developed a large national following due to his reliance on principles and not cheap party politics," Bongino said in a statement.
West served one term as a Republican representative from Florida. His fund aims to foster involvement for minority and veteran conservative candidates, according to a news release.
The formal announcement will be made during an Oct. 10 ceremony at the Capitol Hill Club.
Commissioners meeting moves to first floor
The county commissioners are moving downstairs for their weekly board meetings as part of a security policy update.
The Thursday meetings previously took place on the third floor of Winchester Hall but will now happen in the first-floor meeting room. Joint meetings between commissioners and the Frederick County Board of Education or municipal leaders will remain on the third floor.
Additional new security measures will require all visitors to present identification at the front desk when they enter Winchester Hall. However, visitors will not be turned away if they don't have a photo ID.
If visitors are headed to a public meeting, they will not have to sign in, commissioners said.
Follow Bethany Rodgers on Twitter: @BethRodgersFNP.