So Did Dick Armey Break the Law?

Earlier today I asked whether Dick Armey and the unidentified guy carrying the gun broke DC firearms law during the now-fabled FreedomWorks coup. Well, we’ve been working the story through the course of the day and here’s what we’ve come up with.

The upshot is that if a civilian had done what’s described in the Post story, it would pretty likely be a violation of DC’s very strict gun laws. With some very circumscribed exceptions, you just can’t go around DC with a handgun, concealed or not. Unless you’re a member of law enforcement.We spent a good deal of the day working through the ins and outs of DC firearms law today. But just about a half hour ago, David Corn of Mother Jones, published a piece identified the guy with the gun as Beau Singleton, a 56 year old former Capitol Police officer who worked Armey’s security detail in the House and who has continued to work for Armey since he left office.

DC law excepts several classes of law enforcement. A fair reading of the statute suggests this probably applies to Capitol Hill police officers. And a DC lawyer, with expertise on firearms law, tells us that this exception would also apply to former or retired law enforcement. So DC’s strictures may not apply to Singleton, probably safe to assume they do not.

But there’s a bit more.

Corn’s published a number of scoops on this story. And he’s clearly got a good source relationship with Armey. Armey’s and Singleton’s account dramatically differs from the account in the Post. In the Post account, Armey comes in with an associate with a visible handgun holstered at the waist and escorts Armey’s enemies in the organization out of the office.

In their account, Singleton’s gun was in a back holster. So it shouldn’t even have been visible to anyone in the office. (Armey says he didn’t realize Singleton was even armed.) Singleton didn’t escort Kibbe and Brandon out of the building. And according to Armey and Singleton, Singleton was well known to all the people at FreedomWorks. He’d even provided security for the organization.

The upshot is that Singleton was just there to keep things calm in case any of the FreedomWorks ejectees lost their cool and didn’t do anything but stand there. That’s pretty different from the Post account — which appears to draw on sources on the other side of the dispute, both in terms of subjective impressions and black and white facts.

My hunch is that there’s still a number of leaks still to come.