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So we have this interesting situation in which an aide to Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia is arrested carrying a gun into the Capitol building. The initial story is that the senator asked the aide to take his bag which contained the gun to Webb's home, but didn't mention the gun, and the aide decided to drop by the office first. That's where he got caught going through security.

Now Webb is a Second Amendment supporter, and he is licensed to carry a gun in Virginia but not in D.C. But Webb's news conference about what happened today leaves me scratching my head. Here's a key part of what Webb said:

"I have never carried a gun in the Capitol complex and I did not give the weapon to Phillip Thompson, and that's all that I think I'll say."

Webb's aide was being arraigned at almost that exact moment, so Webb thought he should refrain from saying more. But here's my problem: The senator is largely getting a pass on this, as I think he probably should. But let's just suppose a slightly different set of circumstances.

Suppose there was a hardcore Republican senator who opposed a war policy of a Democrat president. I know, you have to imagine a Democrat going to war, but let's say it's possible. And let's just say this Republican senator had a son in the military and upon meeting the president picked a fight with him and was later quoted as saying he was thinking about punching the Democrat president over the war policy and perceived rudeness. That's exactly the situation that describes Sen. Webb, except the political affiliations are reversed.

Now let's just imagine that particular Republican senator had an aide who was caught carrying the senator's loaded pistol around, revealing the fact that the senator routinely packs a gun. Couldn't I expect a great hue and cry about this senator who is so paranoid and demented he thinks he needs to carry an automatic pistol and two extra clips because he's going to need to fight his way out of, what, the Senate cloakroom?

The reason I devise this comparison is that I think Webb is right to carry a gun, and he also has a right to do so. But I think there would be far more made of this issue if the political affiliation were reversed.

That's My Word.

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