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California Assembly Officials To Carry Guns Full-Time

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The recent shooting of an Arizona congresswoman and threats against California lawmakers have prompted a change in the state Assembly, where the officials who guard lawmakers will begin carrying handguns full-time.

   Assembly spokeswoman Shannon Murphy says sergeants-at-arms previously were armed only when threat levels were high or during large events. Beginning this month, they started carrying .40-caliber semiautomatic handguns whenever they are on duty.

   The decision follows the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others in Arizona, as well as threats against a California state senator and assemblyman this year. The Senate does not plan to implement a similar policy.

   Sergeants-at-arms in both chambers provide security for lawmakers and during committee meetings and floor sessions.

   The California Highway Patrol also guards the Capitol.

   (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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