January 10th, 2013
03:06 PM ET
2 years ago

NBC gun magazine decision expected by week's end

Washington (CNN) – A decision is expected Friday on whether there will be any criminal charges brought over the display of what appeared to be a high capacity gun magazine during a Meet the Press broadcast.

D.C. Attorney General Irvin Nathan received the results of an investigation by city's Metropolitan Police Department, and is weighing a decision, spokesman Ted Gest said Thursday.

During a December 23 "Meet the Press" interview with Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association, NBC's David Gregory held up what the host described as a 30-round magazine. Gregory asked if banning those and only allowing magazines with five or ten bullets might reduce gun tragedies such as the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

"I don't believe that's going to make one difference," replied LaPierre, who is the NRA's CEO and executive vice president.

Magazines that can hold more than ten rounds are against the law in the District of Columbia, where the public affairs program took place.

NBC News has not commented on the controversy that erupted, but did seek information prior to the show about whether they could legally use the magazine. Tisha Gant, a police spokeswoman, said the network asked the police department and was told it would be illegal to use the high capacity magazine.

An ATF official told CNN he also had received an inquiry from NBC, made some inquiries with the police, and was told an empty magazine would not be a problem. The ATF official passed along that answer to NBC but later learned there was a "miscommunication" and that even holding an empty 30-round case would be illegal. The official said he did not give NBC permission to use the magazine but merely relayed some information.

Possessing a magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds is a misdemeanor in Washington and carries a maximum penalty of up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

It is not known whether Nathan will find criminal charges are appropriate in this case.

–CNN's Mike Ahlers, Kevin Bohn and Larry Lazo contributed to this report


Filed under: Gun rights
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. The Real Tom Paine

    Anyone remember when Bush 41 showed people a bag of crack his staff purchased in a park near the WH? It illustrates a point, nothing more. High-capacity magazine is a relative term, but if that is the case, ask why weapons like this were ever made accessible to the general public. Do you really want a shooter to be outgunning the police?

    January 10, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  2. The Real Tom Paine

    -Steve- Illinois

    Libs are ok with breaking current gun laws, as long as your purpose is to advocate for more gun laws. You people are the most hypocritical on earth. "Do as I say, not as I do!"
    P.S. Gregory sends his kids to a school with 11 armed guards. Good enough for his kids, but you peons, and your rug rats don't deserve protection.
    *******************
    Please, there is more than enough hypocrisy to go around, junior. Your lot have demonstrated that on more than one occaision.

    January 10, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "How can we trust people ignorant of the facts to act in the best interest of the People?"

    That question being posed by a conservative belongs in the Webster's and Oxford's dictionary as an illustration of the meaning of "irony." Sigh.

    January 10, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  4. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I hope that NBC just gets a warning given that there were no bullets or weapon with the clip.

    January 10, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  5. Jokesterer

    Lock up the magazine before it kills again!

    January 10, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    National ownership and transaction registration system + strict liability. Let's see whether the threat of prison secks wakes up these gun rights nutjobs.

    January 10, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  7. FOX NEWS: The dung beetle of journalism.

    "If this was a commentator from Fox News we ALL know he or she would have been pulled off the air already. Obvious double standard of the left wing for ALL to see – again and again."

    Wrong, they would get a contract increase from Ruperf, then start a super PAC and after gathering 3 million bucks from Fox viewers, run for office on the bagger boiz ticket, then when they lose, write a 50 page up book and head out on a book tour...

    January 10, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. John Doe

    Guns don't kill people, empty magazines do.

    January 10, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  9. Vin King

    This just goes to show how stupid and unconnected to solving the problem of violent crime most gun control measures are. Should he be prosecuted? By the letter of the law, yes. He should. Do I think he should? No, I don't think anyone in DC should be prosecuted over the possession of an empty rifle magazine. The law is stupid. Most gun control laws are just as dumb as this one.

    January 10, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  10. mark

    They better at least fine him. Otherwise, it's pretty obvious that certain people are above the law.

    January 10, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  11. jorge washinsen

    We can't seem to not be able to find a president that can do a thing about the debt we are in so he takes off in another direction.Keep trying there is bound to be something to accomplish.

    January 10, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  12. Kevin Parise

    I think we need to keep our eye on the ball. This is just ridiculous.

    January 10, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  13. Terry

    @Sniffit

    National ownership and transaction registration system + strict liability. Let's see whether the threat of prison secks wakes up these gun rights nutjobs.
    -----------------------------------------------
    Obviously it has not made a big difference in Chicago where 506 people were murdered in 2012.

    January 10, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  14. Hart

    I had over 75 large capacity magazines like that about 3 years ago until you could no longer get them due to the Obama run on guns. I wish I had 300 of them now. Oh well that stockpile paid well lets move on to the next one.

    January 10, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  15. ja

    do away with high capacity magazines, hand down, left the lazy cowards have to reload

    January 10, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  16. craig

    This sounds like great political theatre, but not much more. They sought advice about the question, and received ad information. The police couldn't have granted "permission" in any case. They can't grant "permission" to break the law. Any competent court would rule not guilty, observing that they had no intent, they actually did ask before using it, and since it was empty and without a matching weapon, it was useless except as a prop.

    Does that mean the law is bad? Nope. It's just the side effect of trying to write laws that are absolute...a trick which simply cannot be done. Did they break the law? Quite possibly. Did they endanger anyone? Nope. Did they intend to break the law? Obviously not. It's about the same as the Bush administration sending Colin Powell to the UN with a little vial of fake anthrax...good theatre but not much else. Of course, in the Bush administration, the whole thing was a lie in the first place, not that Powell was in on it. In this case, it's the truth. Sad...but nevertheless true.

    January 10, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  17. freedom

    @Tom Paine
    You miss the point – it would have been the Obama machine pulling the commentator off the air. Were you not paying attention during the campaign season? Every time a conservative said or did anything that opposed Obama's agenda -they were brutally attacked. Since this commentator is very obviously in Obama's camp, they don't say a word. That's the point.

    January 10, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  18. Thomas

    Wast of time , it's an empty clip .

    January 10, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  19. Trigger

    What a load of bull. I find it reprehensible that so much thought was put into how to ambush a guest on the show just because he does not beleive the same as you! If he possessed a high cap mag in DC, he is guilty of breaking the law. Fine him and be done with it. He broke the law. Never mind that it is a ridiculous law....I wonder if it had everyone at the studio scared, surprised any of them made it out alive with that mag sitting there in the room.. And if guns kill, how does anyone ever make it out of a gun show alive? Theives and bad men look for the soft target, and I will not be that soft target. "The right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed". Last time I checked, WE were the PEOPLE this refers to. Wake up- today it is guns, tomorrow, something else.

    January 10, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  20. loverpoint

    They used to sell hand grenades in the army/navy surplus store. They had a hole bored in them and no explosive powder in them so your kids could play with them.

    January 10, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  21. Dave

    Yeah, I think a year in jail is appropriate.

    January 10, 2013 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  22. Jason

    Aside from the main agenda... I'm shocked by NRA CEO's reponse.. In response to the magazine size question, "I don't believe that's going to make one difference," replied LaPierre, who is the NRA's CEO and executive vice president. Someone, please enlighten me, as I don't understand where Mr. LaPierre's logic come from (or if there's any logic, behind his claim)...

    January 10, 2013 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  23. cf

    Interesting to see the pro-gun folks dance around this one... if they want NBC to get in trouble for breaking the law, they have to admit that high caliber clips should be illegal. If they want the clip to be legal, then they can't say NBC did anything wrong.

    January 10, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "I had over 75 large capacity magazines like that about 3 years ago until you could no longer get them due to the Obama run on guns."

    There was no "Obama run on guns," moron. The only things Obama signed during his first term regarding guns is allowing concealed carry in national parks and allowing you to check a firearm on Amtrak.

    "Every time a conservative said or did anything that opposed Obama's agenda -they were brutally attacked."

    Riiight...was this before or after the MSM went gaga over broadcasting nationally 20 or so GOP/Teatroll debates that were designed, and proliferated, solely for the purpose of giving several prominent GOPers/Teatrolls a national platform for screaming criticism of Obama?

    January 10, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  25. outside view

    One would think that with today's technology that this TV station could of used computer generated models to make their point. I feel if others in the pass have been charged and fined for the same offense then NBC should step up to the plate plea no contest pay the fine make a donation to a charity . This would not only show support for the law but also advance the gun control/ or lack thereof debate.

    January 10, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
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