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Tucson Shooting Raises Security Concerns Among SD Lawmakers

San Diego’s elected officials say they’re outraged over the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 19 other people in Tucson, Arizona. The attack is raising questions about security among local politicians.

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San Diego’s elected officials say they’re outraged over the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 19 other people in Tucson, Arizona. The attack is raising questions about security among local politicians.

Giffords was shot on Saturday during an appearance at a shopping center parking lot. It's the same kind of public event San Diego’s congressional delegates make regularly -- without any bodyguards.

Congressman Brian Bilbray (R-San Diego) said threats are a part of congressional life, but public meetings must continue. "There is going to be this risk, this is representative government," he said. "We do not dictate from Washington, we represent, and that means we have to communicate. And we do that on the internet, we do that over the telephone, we do that through Facebook and a lot of other things, but we do that face to face," Bilbray explained.

Congressman Bob Filner (D-San Diego) blamed extreme political discourse for putting politicians at risk and said the prospect of violence can’t be taken lightly.

Speaking on KPBS' These Days, Filner recalled an incident that happened to him on election night. "I was surrounded by 100 of my opponent’s supporters. They would have beaten me up had the police not interfered. And the next day, they were targeting me for assassination."

Filner said the attack of Gabby Giffords is not an isolated event.

Security agencies plan to review safety measures this week in Washington. In the meantime, lawmakers are urged to inform local law enforcement in advance of public appearances, and report threatening voice mails and messages.

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