Gun laws are often written in such a way as to criminalize “possession” when possession consists of merely holding somebody else’s legally owned gun in one’s hand briefly. In this case, the possession was a senator’s pistol in a briefcase being carried by an aide.
U.S. Capitol Police arrested a top aide to Sen. Jim Webb on Monday after he tried to enter a Senate office building carrying a loaded pistol and two fully loaded magazines that belonged to the senator.
Phillip Thompson sent a bag through the X-ray machine at Russell Senate Office Building, where Webb’s office is located. It detected the weapon and Capitol Police say they determined that Thompson didn’t have a license to carry the gun in Washington, D.C. Thompson was arrested and charged with carrying a pistol without a license and possession of an unregistered firearm and unregistered ammunition.
A senior Democratic aide said Webb gave the bag that contained the gun to Thompson when the aide drove the senator to the airport. Thompson said he forgot it was in the bag when he took it into the office building.