The arrest of Senator James Webb’s aid, a fiction writer and Marine veteran, after he carried a loaded handgun into a Senate office building has developed into the inevitable debate about the right to bear arms – but right into the breast of America’s pounding, political heart?
Senator Webb told a crush of reporters: “Since 9/11, for people who are in government, I think there has been an agreement that it has been a more dangerous time,” he said. “You look at people in the executive branch, the number of people defending the president. There is not that kind of protection available for people in the legislative branch. We are required to defend ourselves. I choose to do so.”
The aide, Phillip Thompson, 45, who served 12 years in the Marines, has worked with Webb since he began his successful campaign for the senate. Thompson pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of carrying a pistol without a licence, when the gun was found in a brief case he was carryinginto the Russell Senate Office Building.
Like Webb, he is an author, publishing an account of his service in the first Gulf War, as well as fiction.