In a state whose residents are either questioning or defending its non-restrictive gun laws, Klein's action was like a straight shot through the varying attitudes about firearms.
Arizona is a state of hunters and competitive shooters, Old West aficionados and those who want the latest technology in weapons. There are those who carry in self-defense and those who don't own a gun at all.
Those attitudes toward weapons are reflected in the members of the Arizona Legislature, by definition a body representative of the various political leanings of the state.
Klein, the central character in the gun incident, stood for those who defend the right to carry wherever they see fit. Who don't want their constitutional rights infringed in any way, especially at the workplace. And who see themselves as their own best line of defense against criminals.
Klein, a freshman lawmaker, said she has heard and read comments from people who don't understand why she feels the need to constantly walk around armed, even on the secured floor of the legislative chamber.
"They kind of look like everybody who does carry is some kind of hick or hillbilly or cowboy type," Klein said, "and they don't identify."
Some lawmakers decried her action, reflecting the attitudes of those who question the need for a gun in a policed metropolitan area. Those who think more guns invite more violence. Who think that government has a definite place in regulating the time and place in which weapons are allowed.
Sen. Robert Meza, a Democrat from Phoenix, was with Klein as she entered the House of Representatives that Jan 10. Meza said he thought it was "weird" that Klein was allowed to bring her gun onto the floor. "And I'm carrying a machine gun, do you mind?" he thought.
The incident showed that lawmakers were not just divided on legislative policies involving guns. They were also deeply divided over the presence of guns in their own world, the society that was going to be gaveled into session that day at 1700 W. Washington Ave.
"Oh, it's so cute," Klein said, as she unzipped the loaded Ruger from its carrying case to show a reporter and photographer. She was sitting on a leather couch in a lounge, just outside the Senate chamber.
She showed off the laser sighting by pointing the red beam at the reporter's chest. The gun has no safety, she said, but there was no need to worry.
"I just didn't have my hand on the trigger," she said.
Klein said she started carrying a handgun in 2000, after someone rattled the door at her Moon Valley house. "That just scared the hell out of me," she said.
She had grown up around guns in Spokane, Wash. She fired a BB gun at age 6 and went on childhood hunting trips with her father. But after she moved to larger cities, she never felt a need to carry a gun.
Until that night in Phoenix. Her husband at the time was traveling and she was home with the kids. They were asleep. She was watching television, about 6 feet from the door. She heard it rattle.
She called police, and they arrived about 10 minutes later, she said. "That's a terminal amount of time," she said. "Had the perpetrators gotten in, I had no gun, I had nothing. There was nothing I could do to protect my children."
She went to Shooter's World, a gun store, on Ladies Night and bought a .40 caliber revolver. "I slept with it," she said.
The smaller and more concealable gun she carried into the Statehouse was a Christmas gift. She carries it in her purse. She has other guns, which she declined to detail. Klein said she's had informal training sessions on each of her guns and was taught gun safety by her father.
Klein carried the gun into the Senate on her first day as a matter of routine, but as she has continued her duties, she began to carry it because she felt she needed it. Someone wanting to do her harm could easily slip past what she considers the weak security measures in place.
"It's like an insurance policy," she said of her handguns. "Shame on me if something were to ever happen and I couldn't defend myself or my children."
It's a personal choice, she said, but one not understood or respected by everyone.
She has some girlfriends who don't carry weapons and are generally afraid of guns, Klein said. And she doesn't try to convince them they are wrong. She doesn't think someone should carry a weapon unless they are comfortable and confident in doing so.
"I don't like chocolate ice cream," she said. "Am I going to force you not to have any?"
Klein, who has since divorced and moved to Anthem, where she won her first bid for public office, said she didn't know she was going to be part of the delegation of senators who would enter the House of Representatives that day.
If she had time to plan, she might have left her purse and gun in her office.
But Klein said she was told to accompany leadership minutes before the walk across the Capitol plaza. Her purse was with her, and inside was the tiny but powerful gun.
Security was tight because, on Jan. 8, a gunman opened fire at a congressional constituent event held at a grocery store outside Tucson.
Six people died, and 13 were wounded, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
When guards first told Klein that she couldn't take in a gun, Klein reminded them she was a state senator. "They said, 'You can't go in.' I said, 'Oh, yeah, I can. I have a right to carry,' " Klein said.
Klein said she asked security to check with the Senate secretary. That person said to allow her inside.
Meza, who was also part of the delegation from the Senate, said afterward he asked Klein about carrying a gun to work. She told him about the attempted break-in, but he still didn't understand.
"Me, personally, I don't live in fear," Meza said.
Meza grew up in Phoenix and would take trips up north with his family to hunt deer and elk.
But he doesn't see a need for weapons in an urban area. "I personally don't believe people should be able to carry guns on the street," he said.
Joe Kubacki, the sergeant at arms for the Senate, said Klein's scenario of an attacker making it into her office was far-fetched.
"In the world of 'anything's possible,' I suppose it could happen," he said. "But I think it's highly unlikely."
There are electronically locked doors and security on each floor. Capitol police and Arizona Department of Public Safety officers have a response time of about 30 seconds, Kubacki said.
In his 16 years of working security in the Senate, he said there has not been a single incident where someone created enough of a danger that the person had to be forcibly removed from a lawmaker's office.
Still, Klein's carrying of a handgun into the building does not bother him.
"If that makes her feel more safe and that provides a level of comfort for her, I think that's a good thing," he said.
Klein's gun incident became a punch line during floor debate about a bill that would allow weapons into government buildings. In arguing against it, Sen. Steve Gallardo, a Phoenix Democrat, said the legislation would let someone carry a weapon into the Senate gallery.
"And if they started shooting, the only one who is able to protect us is Lori Klein," Gallardo recalled saying.
Klein was not present, but hearing that she was being joked about, she came on to the floor within minutes. Gallardo told her what he had said. Klein said she told him, "I'm not protecting your sorry ass."
She later told him she was joking and that she would protect him if trouble broke out. "Of course, he'd be under his desk," Klein said.
Gallardo was also wrong about her being the only senator to carry a weapon in the chamber, she said. She's just the only one who's been public about it.
Since her incident, she has had other senators tell her they also carry concealed.
She wouldn't give names but said "you can imagine who they are."
As stated before I am a supporter of the second amendment, but I have a few problems with this lady and her actions. It has been strongly ingrained into my being that you never point a firearm at someone unless you intend to shoot them. It's illegal to run a red light because it could endanger someone. I feel the same way about pointing a loaded gun at someone, especially when that gun has no safety. Her actions are highly irresponsible. I am surprised it's legal to have a gun without a safety. And one more thing...she keeps a safetyless loaded handgun in her purse. Lets see now...where are my keys. BANG!!! Sorry Junior.