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The recent shooting of an Arizona congresswoman and threats against several California state lawmakers have prompted officials who guard state Assembly members to carry handguns full-time.

California Assembly sergeants previously were armed only when threat levels were high or during large events, Assembly spokeswoman Shannon Murphy said.

Beginning this month, they started carrying .40 caliber Smith & Wesson semiautomatic handguns whenever on duty.

Murphy said the Assembly made the policy change in response to the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others in Arizona in January, and well-publicized threats this year against Assemblyman V. Manuel Perez, D-Coachella, and state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco.

Source: The Associated Press

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