CHARLESTON, W.Va. - With nearly 30 years in the U.S. Senate, few members of Congress have more political firepower than West Virginia's Sen. Jay Rockefeller.
But Rockefeller, a Democrat, might have his opposition outgunned in other ways, too.
Sometime in the 1970s, one of the senator's cousins gave him a Colt AR-15 assault rifle.
As the Daily Mail reported in August 1994, Rockefeller kept the shooting iron at his Pocahontas County estate for several years, along with other guns.
The senator told Daily Mail Washington correspondent Jack Deutsch he no longer used the gun but called it a "terrific weapon."
Rockefeller removed his guns from the Pocahontas County home around 1990 because his farm's caretaker had children. He didn't want to store his AR-15 at his Washington home, either, because his son Justin was so young.
The city's gun ban also made it illegal for Rockefeller to keep the gun in his D.C. mansion.
To avoid violating the ban, Rockefeller gave his AR-15 to one of his security guards, a retired Washington police officer, for safekeeping in the man's northern Virginia home.
The rifle moved back to West Virginia at some point in the last 19 years. Rockefeller spokesman Andrew Beckner said it is back at the Pocahontas County farm, locked in storage. He said he did not know when Rockefeller fired it last, nor did he have any more information about the gun.
Back in 1994, Rockefeller said he was "a pretty good shot," but declined to say how he came by his marksmanship skills.
"No lives were lost," Rockefeller said at the time.
Those familiar with the history of gun laws will remember 1994 also was the year Congress passed a decade-long assault weapons ban.