Arrest of Webb aide highlights conflict between Captiol and District gun laws
It is lawful to carry a gun into the United States Capitol, and it is even lawful to load it, but District of Colombia gun laws strictly ban the transport of hand guns on city streets, according to the Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/28/AR2007032802384.html?reload=true).
Phillip Thompson, aide to Virginia Senator Jim Webb, was arrested Monday for carrying a loaded pistol into the Capitol building. Thompson was arrested after police spotted the loaded pistol he was carrying in his briefcase. Thompson said he was carrying the weapon for Webb. He has been charged on an account of carrying a firearm without a license.
According to police, it is only lawful for congressmen to ask police officials to escort weapons into the building. Staff members are also only allowed to carry unloaded guns. Congress members can have loaded guns, but only in their offices.
Webb denies ever having carried a gun into the Capitol building. Congress members do not have to pass through metal detectors.
District law says that citizens can only keep rifles and shotguns within the confines of their home. It is also illegal to transport weapons from Virginia to Maryland by way of the District of Colombia.
Webb also denied a claim that he gave the gun to Thompson for safe-keeping before entering an airport.
According to an AP report, Thompson plead not guilty to gun charges on Tuesday (http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-6513207,00.html).
Thompson and his attorney had no comment.
I thought the Washington Post article was expertly handled. The writer took a legalistic approach, emphasizing the conflict between District and Capitol law. This set up many interesting facts and disparities that were both entertaining and enlightening. I also like how the writer added the context of Virginia gun law to show allude to why Webb and Thompson think this way about gun control. The lead works brilliantly by dodging the main story everyone has already heard, and providing the fact that congressmen can load guns in their offices. I was also amazed that congressmen don't need to pass through metal detectors. If there was one thing the article missed, it was the specific details about Thompson's court procedings. The AP article took a straight-forward news approach. It dealt with the facts very concisely and focused on the legal actions. I thought it could've developed the descrepancy between Thompson and Webb's claims in a more thorough way.