Indiana Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) said he took "prudent steps" in opening his Indianapolis office Monday.

But newly elected Coats told the Indianapolis Star that the precautions weren't related to the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) on Saturday. Coats also declined to say what specific security precautions he had taken.

Coats, who served in the Senate from 1989 to 1999, is a member of the freshman class of legislators whose first days in their new roles have been marked by the shootings. On Sunday, the FBI briefed more than 800 members of Congress, their families and their staff on security in response to the shooting.

Today, Coats warned that alarm over the shooting should get out of hand.

"I just don't want to overdo this," Coats said. "As a member elected by the people, I need to be with the people.

Coats also said that, as a senator, he had to be able to interact with constituents.

"This is a representative democracy," Coats said. "You have to talk to people face to face, in small-town diners, at public meetings. I will continue to do that."