An aide to a US congressman had a bad, albeit brief day at the office on Friday.
At 9:15 a.m., Ryan Shucard, press secretary to Rep. Tom Marino (R) of Pennsylvania, was arrested by Capitol Police after they say they discovered a Smith & Wesson 9mm handgun during the routine search required for entry into congressional buildings.
The police told Representative Marino’s office that the incident appeared to have been an accident, said Marino's chief of staff, Bill Tighe. Mr. Shucard had no intention to use the gun, the police said according to Mr. Tighe, and it was not loaded.
Shucard was placed on unpaid leave after the incident.
“He’s broken up,” Tighe told Time. “He’s disappointed in himself.”
“I think it is a situation where he lives in Virginia, and he transported the firearm into D.C. accidentally,” he added. “We’re very disappointed that he did not display responsible gun ownership.”
Carrying guns outside one’s home or business in the District of Columbia is illegal. Shucard was charged on Friday with carrying a pistol without a license, a felony.
Although the District's gun laws are among the strictest in the United States, the current regulations are more relaxed than they were prior to 2008, when the US Supreme Court overturned a general handgun ban in the city in District of Columbia v. Heller.
Recently, however, Republican members of Congress have been targeting these regulations: The GOP-controlled House passed a bill on Wednesday that would strip D.C. of the funds necessary to enforce its gun regulations, though House Republicans acknowledge it will almost certainly fail in the Senate.
The incident Friday isn’t the first of its kind in recent years. In 2007, Phillip Thompson, a top aide to then-Sen. James Webb (D) of Virginia, was arrested for carrying a loaded pistol into a Senate office building.
According to a source for The Washington Post, Mr. Webb had given Mr. Thompson the gun as Thompson was driving the senator to the airport, and then Thompson simply forgot he was carrying it. Thompson was not charged in the incident.
Shucard graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in 2011, according to his LinkedIn profile, and he worked for 17 months as a staff assistant for former Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I) of Connecticut.
• This report includes material from The Associated Press.