During a State Duma speech on gun ownership in the wake of a deadly office shooting in Moscow, an official brandished a pistol-shaped object that at least one of his fellow deputies took for a real gun.
The show-and-tell occurred as lawmaker Roman Khudyakov, a member of the right-leaning Liberal Democratic Party, was speaking Wednesday on widened gun ownership rights, Lenta.ru reported.
United Russia member Irina Rodnina said via her Twitter account that Khukydakov had displayed a weapon on the floor of the Duma.
"Khudyakov, protecting the right of citizens to bear arms, showed a mini-pistol," she wrote. "How did he get it into the protected building of the State Duma," she added.
Rodnina's staffers in the Duma couldn't immediately be reached for comment.
But Khudyakov responded Wednesday afternoon that it actually had been "a flash drive," RIA-Novosti reported.
"I displayed to all of the State Duma deputies this flash drive, a rubber prototype of a pistol," he said.
"This is how I showed my colleagues that even such a small 'weapon' could be used by any young woman or older woman for … protection of herself or her children," Khudyakov added.
He said he doesn't own any weapon and doesn't have the right to do so under current law.
Speaking in the Duma, he proposed that citizens should be allowed to carry handguns for self-defense. The 35-year-old official, who represents the Pskov region, Tambov region and Tatarstan, said his proposal is intended for "people of a sound mind."
He also touted concealed weapons. "Our women could always carry a small pistol with them in their purse, which can serve to protect against robbers and maniacs," he said, Rosbalt reported.
The country's gun debate has heightened after a Nov. 7 shooting rampage by an employee at the Rigla pharmaceutical chain's head office in northern Moscow, which left six dead.