A month after Congresswoman Nancy Mace's home in Charleston, South Carolina was vandalized, the Republican lawmaker revealed she carries a firearm with her everywhere she is allowed to.
"I go to the gun range almost weekly to practice shooting," Mace told Fox News in a video feature.
"It doesn't feel good that I feel like I have to look behind my shoulder every day. It doesn't feel safe," she added.
On Memorial Day weekend, Mace discovered that her home and property had been vandalized with anarchist messages like "all politicians are bastards" and "no gods no masters." Police are investigating the crime, but so far no suspects have been arrested nor charges filed.
In mid-June, police released a picture of an individual they suspected of vandalizing Mace's home as well as property at Bishop England high School earlier this year.
"When they show up to your house and physically try to destroy it with graffiti, it's personal and it's invasive. It's violating," said Mace.
After the incident, she revealed she carries a firearm in public for protection.
"I carry a gun everywhere I go today. Where I'm allowed to, I do carry," Mace said.
"When this happened, it really changed everything for me. I'm not going to live in fear, and I'm not going to be intimidated, and to be able to carry a gun wherever i go, for me as a woman, I think it's one of the most empowering things that you can do to defend yourself," she told Fox News.
After Mace reported that her home had been vandalized on social media, unsubstantiated rumors began circulating that she had faked the crime for attention. She was also criticized for fundraising off the "Antifa vandals' who "went after my home."
"There was no empathy. There was only, 'let's re-victimize her and let's accuse her of doing the crime herself'," Mace said.
"I challenge anybody, if I did this, please send the evidence to the FBI and please charge me with a crime. I dare you to because the evidence just doesn't exist out there. And it's crazy to me that this is where we are in this country and you're seeing the downfall of civility on social media because of this," she added.
Mace said she will continue to mention what happened in fundraising efforts and that talking about what happened — how it made her feel, and the fact that she carries a firearm in response will be a regular part of her public discourse.
"I'm absolutely going to talk about it to people and I will try to fundraise off of it," Mace said. "I'm not going to back down. I think we've got to use all the tools that we can to be successful in this country.
"I feel liberated by the ability to carry a gun now. It's liberating, but also it's empowering for me to know that I can be able to defend myself no matter what."