CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The man sitting outside Kelli Sobonya's open house for an hour made her uneasy.
He waited until the showing of the vacant home in Milton was over before coming to the door.
Sobonya, a Realtor and Republican state legislator from Cabell County, was alone.
"He said he wanted to go see the house and asked if there's a basement and if I could show it to him," Sobonya said. "I said no, you can find it yourself."
After looking in the home briefly, Sobonya said, the man left. He declined to take any paperwork about the house with him but told her he would keep the business card with her picture on it.
That's one reason Sobonya decided to carry a gun.
An incident involving Sobonya and her gun recently raised a few eyebrows. It happened in Wheeling last Wednesday. A column in the Sunday Gazette-Mail described Sobonya dropping her purse after having her picture taken with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
When the purse dropped, her gun was exposed.
Sobonya says the story was exaggerated - Tomblin's security detail never asked her about the weapon, as the column stated - and she repeatedly said it's not that big of a deal.
She said she had wedged her small gold leather wristlet between her knee and the desk where the governor was seated. The governor moved, the open wristlet slipped and fell, and the governor could see her .32-caliber handgun.
"I looked at him, he looked at me. I made a joke, he made a joke," Sobonya said.
"I said, 'Hey, governor, you don't have to worry; I have my permit,' " she added.
She was referring to her permit to carry a concealed weapon.
In a state enamored with firearms and the Second Amendment, Sobonya is not the only lawmaker legally packing heat.
Delegate Jim Butler, R-Mason, recalled a meeting of the Roads and Transportation Committee during the regular legislative session this past winter.
The committee was discussing a bill that would allow lawmakers to leave their guns in their cars parked on Capitol grounds.
Chairwoman Margaret Staggers asked committee members to raise their hands if they had a concealed carry permit. Butler - a five-year permit holder who occasionally totes a .357 handgun - raised his hand.
So did 18 or 20 other delegates on the 25 member committee, he said.
"Which you wouldn't think of as a real redneck, hillbilly committee," Staggers, D-Fayette, said Tuesday, laughing.
She said she earned a perfect score when she passed the concealed carry permit test 20 years ago. She beat her husband, who took the test at the same time.
"Living in southern West Virginia, it would be assumed that you would have a permit to carry and that you would," Staggers said. "I think that that's more cultural than anything else."
Staggers said before serving for decades in Congress, her father, Harley Staggers, was a sheriff. He told his daughters if they were to pull a gun and point it at someone, they should do it with deadly intent.
That's not all he taught them. Raised on a 500-acre farm, Staggers and her sisters also took target practice with .22-caliber guns. While riding horses.
"The four Staggers girls are pretty good shots," she said.
An emergency room doctor for years, Staggers said she carried her gun because she had to travel alone to work at night. She's never had to use her gun for protection, but there have been threats made against her both as a doctor and as a lawmaker.
The Capitol police investigated one claim, found the person who made the threat and encouraged that person not to go through with it, Staggers said.
Delegate Mark Hunt, D-Kanawha, remembers being threatened during his early years in the House of Delegates over a bill regarding new policies for ophthalmologists and optometrists. He thinks plenty of people in the House have been threatened and just as many carry guns.