The gun Jack Ruby used to kill Lee Harvey Oswald, sold at auction last year by Ruby's brother, now sits in a police evidence locker after a man was arrested over the weekend for carrying it onto the grounds of the Capitol.
Capitol police confirmed Sunday night the arrest of Robert Luongo, whom The Washington Post described as a representative of the $220,000 gun's owner. Luongo was quoted as saying he feared the .38-caliber Colt Cobra would wind up being destroyed - the common fate of all firearms seized in the District of Columbia.Luongo, 37, of Ocean Ridge, Fla., was held in jail overnight after his arrest on Saturday, police said. He was released after posting bond Sunday.
Capitol police spokesman Dan Nichols described the gun seized from Luongo as a Colt Cobra six-shot .38-caliber revolver with the serial number 2744-LW. The Post said that was the serial number on the gun Ruby used to shoot Oswald on Nov. 24, 1963, two days after the assassination of President Kennedy.
"He approached our officers and said he had a historical gun in a locked gun case in his possession," said Nichols, who added he could not confirm whether it was Ruby's gun. "The fact that the gun is historically significant is not relevant to our case," he said.
Nichols said it would be up to a judge to decide whether the gun would be destroyed. It was taken as evidence and is being stored in an evidence locker at Capitol police headquarters, he said.
Luongo told the Post he meant no harm and that he considered the unloaded gun - bought at an auction in December - to be more a piece of history than a weapon.
He said he was in Washington to appear with the gun on cable television's "Larry King Live" program Friday night and had decided to do some sightseeing before heading home, the paper said.
Luongo contended that police knew he was carrying the gun in a locked brief case for nearly 30 minutes before he was arrested.