Security more visible as Sen. Rand Paul visits Kentucky for first time since shooting in Washington

SHEPHERDSVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- U.S. Sen. Rand Paul returned to Kentucky on Monday for the first time since a gunman targeted Republican members of Congress at a baseball field outside Washington, D.C., on July 14.

Paul's visit to the Gordon Foods distribution center in Shepherdsville was not a public event, but the increased security was obvious.

Security is rarely visible at Paul's appearances, especially at events closed to the general public. But on this occasion, two uniformed Bullitt County sheriff's deputies stood watch at the entrance to Gordon Foods.

“I'm a big believer in uniformed deterrence," Paul said. "Did we think we were going to be attacked in Shepherdsville? No, nobody thinks they're very going to be attacked. But I think a show of deterrence is good idea,” Paul told reporters."

Paul was on the field when a gunman opened fire during a Republican practice for the annual congressional baseball game. He credits Capitol Police with saving his life and admits it's changed his awareness of security.

“It makes you a little more cautious, a little bit more looking around where you go places," he said. "Some of that will probably fade over time."

At the company's request, Paul's tour of Gordon Foods and his Q&A with employees was closed to the media. But Paul held more than 100 public town hall meetings when he was running for re-election in 2016. He said they will continue ... but with changes.

“We will continue to do those," he said. "There's probably going to be a little more of a check-in process."

Paul said he supports an effort to allow members of Congress to carry concealed weapons in Washington, D.C,, if they have a permit in their home state.

“I think guns in the hands of good people are a deterrent to crime,and a deterrent to extensive violence,” he said.

Paul said he hopes the shooting leads to a more civil tone in Washington, but he said it should not stifle vigorous debate. He said reports of the sometimes uncivil partisan war at the nation’s Capitol are often overblown.

“Sometimes it gets ginned up how much we're at each other's throat in Washington," Paul said. "To tell you the truth, many of my good friends are Democrats in Washington. I have never had a cross word with a Democrat."

Paul said some good did come from the attack. He said the congressional baseball game usually raises around $600,000 for charity. This year, the increased interest meant the game raised $1.5 million.

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