Senator Admits Aide Was Carrying His Gun When Arrested

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Sen. Jim Webb said he owns the gun that an aide was arrested for carrying into the U.S. Capitol complex in March.

"It's my gun," Webb told the Richmond Times-Dispatch in an interview last week.

Webb previously had refused to say whether the gun was his, although his senior aide — Phillip Thompson — had told police the weapon belonged to the Democratic senator.

Thompson was arrested on an illegal handgun charge when he carried the loaded pistol and two other loaded magazines in a briefcase into the Russell Senate Office Building. A federal prosecutor later dropped the charge.

Webb said little about the incident in March, saying he did not want to prejudice the outcome of Thompson's case.

"It was a matter under legal consideration, and I was precluded from saying anything," Webb told the Richmond newspaper. "And I hope you'll understand that in matters of self-defense up here, it doesn't do anybody's safety a lot of good by talking about this stuff. We're pretty vulnerable up here."

Although Webb now acknowledges ownership of the gun, how and why it was in Thompson's possession remains unclear.

"I did not give it to Phillip, nor did I ask him to do anything with it," Webb said in the interview, reiterating what he told reporters in March.

Webb also again declined to say whether he complies with the District of Columbia's handgun ban. He has said, however, that he never carried a gun in the Capitol complex.