December 25th, 2012
02:34 PM ET
10 years ago

Washington D.C. police investigating whether NBC moderator violated law

Washington (CNN) - Washington Metropolitan Police Department is investigating whether NBC's David Gregory violated D.C. gun laws when he displayed what he described as a 30 round magazine as part of an interview during Sunday's "Meet the Press."

A spokeswoman for the department said Wednesday that a representative for NBC inquired ahead of the broadcast about using the high-capacity magazine, which Gregory displayed while interviewing the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association.

The department spokeswoman, Tisha Gant, said the police told NBC they could not use the magazine, since possessing a large capacity ammunition device is illegal in the District of Columbia. Gant said the matter is under investigation.

On Sunday, Gregory used the device while asking the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre whether banning such magazines could help lessen the impact of deadly shootings.

"So here's a magazine for ammunition that carries 30 bullets,” Gregory said, holding up the black, rectangular device. “Now isn't it possible that if we got rid of these, if we replaced them and said well, you can only have a magazine that carries five bullets or ten bullets, isn't it just possible that we could reduce the carnage in a situation like Newtown?"

It's not known whether the magazine Gregory had in his hand was authentic or a prop.

Possessing a large capacity ammunition device, such as a magazine, is illegal in the District of Columbia if the device holds more than 10 rounds of ammunition. The code also specifies the large devices are illegal regardless of whether or not they're attached to a firearm. Gregory showed the magazine Sunday without a firearm attached.

NBC's studios, from which "Meet the Press" is broadcast, are located within city limits. The network did not have any comment on the matter Wednesday.

In the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, gun control advocates have been pushing for a limit on high capacity magazines. Such a restriction is one of the items President Barack Obama mentioned last week when he announced an administration effort to curb violence.

"I don't believe that's going to make one difference," LaPierre told Gregory during the show.

Several conservative commentators first raised the issue of whether Gregory had broken D.C. law by using the magazine.

CNN's Mike Ahlers and Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.

Filed under: Gun rights • NRA
soundoff (533 Responses)
  1. roblearns

    In a war you need assault weapons. That 30 round magazine becomes important.

    In real life you don't need assault weapons. But that is being misunderstood by the gun control crowd.

    You really, really, don't need an assault weapon to do what Adam Lanza did. He could accomplish it with any regular gun.

    In a war – changing out a magazine, could be the difference between life and death.

    In a school with defenseless children, you really think the split second to swap out a magazine, throws the advantage back to the school children?

    Ridiculous, they would be just as defenseless against a regular gun as they were against an assault rifle.
    As long as Adam Lanza brings enough bullets – the same result with regular weapons as with the ones he brought.

    The only way this ban makes a difference is if in addition to the ban, you also have armed guards in the school.

    December 26, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  2. James, AL

    David Gregory was doing his part as a host to help educate the public about the gun issues, and anyone who did not understand that (including the DC police) is ignorant. Maybe he should have notified them of the illegal prop he would use, but to make this out to be some great crime is totally unwarranted. Because of him more people now know more about the public discussion.

    December 26, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  3. Tony in Maine

    @it must be said" – a bunch of people running around pretending to be Rambo is not a well regulated militia. At the time the 2nd Amendment was written, every citizen-soldier brought his own weapon to the battle. Only professionals were issued muskets. Today – if you show up at a Guard meeting with a personal weapon, the thing is going to be taken from you and locked away. The NG is the natural successor to the people who stood up to the British.

    The idea that it gives Joe Blow the power to stand up to today's miltary is absurd. One trained sniper with night vision would eliminate 100 NRA Rambo's before they even figured out where he was hidden. If the military is on your side against the government, you can kick back and watch the Consitution shredded and burned.

    I have problem with bolt action hunting rifles that carry 5 rounds or less, an AR-15 with a 30 round clip is for killing people, not deer.

    Finally – your right to strut around acting tough does not trump one persons right to live. Stuff your assault weapon where the sun don't shine.

    December 26, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  4. jim

    Shooting at schools - teachers need guns to teach.
    Crazy man kills firefighters in NYC - firemen need guns to put out fires.
    Brown's Chicken massacre in Palatine Il, - fast food workers need guns to serve chicken nuggets.
    Post Office killings - postal workers need guns to deliver mail.
    Batman theater killings - Friday night movie goers need guns when going on a date.
    If I had more time, I could go on.......

    So, is it ok for me to bring my gun in case I get shot by a teacher, firefighter, fast food worker, mailman, or a couple on a movie date?

    Pretty silly to me. Ban heavy guns.

    December 26, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  5. humberto

    Possession of the illegal magazine within the jurisdiction of the laws that apply, has no bearing of a fraudulent argument before a court about freedom of speech, if anything, such an argument is another crime.

    December 26, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  6. Robert D

    David Gregory, make sure you put that magazine back in the receiver of your rifle before you put it back in your safe!

    December 26, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  7. Sal Voce

    SO, once again, the all knowing omnipotent liberal press thinks they're not only above the law but still God's gift to humanity! HA!

    Haul him to JAIL! DC has incredibly stupid and tight gun laws and incredibly high crime rates...this dolt looks like he just confessed to committing a felony in DC! JAIL HIM!

    December 26, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  8. California Gary

    When it comes to the wording and intent of the 2nd amendment, it should be noted that at the time it was drafted the country didn't have much in the way of a standing professional army and relied heavily on a militia (or army of citizen soldiers) for the protection of the country. Last I checked, we have quite a large professional army currently standing, as well as a large and trained reserve force. A well regulated militia is no longer relevant. While I agree that the average citizen should be able to own a firearm for sporting and/or self protection, military style weapons and high capacity magazines are not required for those purposes. Reasonable gun regulation is just that.......reasonable.

    December 26, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    @it must be said

    How clueless and totally misleading can you possibly be? The Constitution defines the role of the government, it's powers, how it will operate, etc. The first amendments, also known as the "Bill of Rights", where the specific rights that the Founding Fathers wanted enumerated as being retained BY THE PEOPLE, and not part of their granting of rights to the federal government....
    "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

    Anything that I wrote that you consider to be misleading are actually arguments made by people to justify their right to anything that can kill.

    Above is the preamble. The entire document defines a government by the people, for the people, and one that is comprised of the people. As I said, at the time of its' writing there was no formal standing US military. The Revolutionary War was fought by citizens who organized themselves into local militias, who joined forces to become an army. The 2nd Amendment defines that militias in the United States should be made of The People, the nation's citizens, not a conscripted army or some other similarly comprised force.

    Today, we have "well regulated" militias comprixed of a volunteer army of citizens, who bear arms. The 2nd Amendment was meant to establish and define how people can participate in the overall defence and welfare of the country. Any militia in the US shall be comprised of citizens, not conscripts. I see the 2nd Amendment as defining the public militia, not private or personal ones.

    I also see the 2nd Amendment as dated in its' intent. Many places used to require a public horse trough somewhere on a public street or village square. We dont' still require horse troughs be made available do we?

    December 26, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  10. Lynda/Minnesota

    "We are becoming as ignorant as they were in the 1800's."

    Yes. Yes we are. That has been the plan all along: Regression and Projection.

    December 26, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  11. humberto

    And the false arguments before the courts, is the whole problem.

    December 26, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  12. Gary

    Here's a way to help solve this issue on guns ... if you cant take the bad guns away from the gun nuts charge $100 a bullet and the same for materials to make bullets. Thought I would get ahead of curve of the hillibilly posting "I cun make my owne buwitts" There solved

    December 26, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  13. it must be said

    So if they ban 30 round magazines now, when the next insane person kills 50 people using seven 10 shot magazines, will the next step be to ban 10 round magazines and only allow 2 round magazines? And what about pistols with 6 round speed loaders? Will those be banned as well? Make everybody load one bullet at a time? And then when the killings continue, then what?

    Honestly people, passing stupid useless laws does nothing but catch people like David Gregory and turn him into a criminal, which he now should be as he was in possession of an illegal magazine.

    December 26, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  14. Skuv

    This is no different than if he was holding a bag of cocaine or marijuana and talking to a "Legalize Drugs" proponent.

    What he had in his possession is illegal in the District of Columbia.

    Why are some of you saying he shouldn't be charged with this crime? If he isn't charged with it, then neither should anyone else be that wants to have one in DC.

    It's not about if it was loaded or not or inserted in a gun. The law in DC is CLEARLY written. You cannot possess it no matter what you are doing with it.

    He probably lives in VA, where it is legal to have them and to buy them in any gun store or Walmart. So he bought it, and brought it into DC. That is illegal. Just like if someone that lived in DC went to VA and bought one to bring back and use.

    Why should this man be treated any differently than an ordinary citizen just because he's a TV reporter?

    And in the end, this shows you how absurd gun control laws are now and how absurd they will be. The fact that this guy is breaking a law that says he can't have an empty magazine just because of the amount of rounds it holds. How is that protecting anyone? Now, think long and hard about that. If you want stricter gun control laws, and DC has one on the books, and this man broke it, and you don't think he should be charged. Then what DO YOU WANT?

    December 26, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  15. David McAlpin

    This is what we're worried about? A news program displayed a 30-round magazine on TV? I didn't realize the Washington, DC Police Department had so much time on their hands.

    December 26, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  16. Jim

    Right now, it is the law, and he willingly broke that law. It is a silly law, and perhaps David Gregory going to jail could get rid of that law.

    December 26, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  17. Lynda/Minnesota

    "If guns kill people then pencils misspell words."

    Whether one simply points their finger and shouts bang or uses their finger to print words ... the accompanying "kill" or the "misspelled" word can't be accomplished without the gun or the pencil.

    December 26, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  18. Mason

    Just stating the facts Lynda and I don't do TV evangelicals. I agree its complete choice and I use every bit if my FREEDOM and LIBERTY. God gave me personal choice and far be it from me to dictate it to anyone else and nor would I. Just like a liberal to insuate that I am not welcome becuase of my beliefs.

    December 26, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  19. NickAnast

    "A WELL REGULATED militia..."

    Banning assault weapons, closing the gun show/Internet loophole, and limiting magazines to 10 rounds all fit within the definition of WELL REGULATED. So does a three-day waiting period.

    As for David Gregory, slap him with a fine, even put him in jail for 30 days. The fact that he used the magazine after DC police told NBC not to use it cannot be ignored.

    December 26, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  20. Skuv

    @Tony in Maine: So Tony, why do you believe that the 2nd Amendment is the ONLY Amendment in the Bill of Rights that is stating the rights of GOVERNMENT organizations, when every single other amendment is not, and is stating the rights that ordinary citizens have?

    That would seem extremely weird, wouldn't it? They stated every right for citizens, but somehow they meant the government for just the 2nd amendment?

    December 26, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  21. California Gary

    Love your argument Jim........really puts it all in proper perspective!

    December 26, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  22. it must be said

    Tony in Maine
    @it must be said" – a bunch of people running around pretending to be Rambo is not a well regulated militia.
    Maine must be a very strange place. We don't have "a bunch of people running around pretending to be Rambo" where I live. I've never seen any in my travels to other states either. Exaggerating a bit don't you think? Or are you just paranoid?

    BTW, the ONLY way to get guns out of private hands is to repeal the 2nd amendment. The USSC has rulled. Give it a try and see if the 100 million Americans that own guns will go along with it. Should it be tried, maybe a counter effort to repeal 16th amendment creating the income tax would be an appropriate response to a government that feels the need to render its citizens defenseless.

    December 26, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  23. dave

    Isnt it funny how the liberals want new laws, yet do not understand why they are held accountable for breaking those same laws.

    December 26, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  24. Laurie

    Oh, come on. Hopefully the D.C. police will go after the people that really are using or possessing these, not the T.V. host showing it as part of an interview. A little perspective and common sense would be nice to see.

    December 26, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  25. Obama is just as much a 1%er as Mitt

    James, AL

    David Gregory was doing his part as a host to help educate the public about the gun issues, and anyone who did not understand that (including the DC police) is ignorant. Maybe he should have notified them of the illegal prop he would use, but to make this out to be some great crime is totally unwarranted. Because of him more people now know more about the public discussion.

    maybe he shouldn't have been using an illegal "prop" in the first place.
    When you pull a circus stunt for ratings, the responsibility falls on your, Mr. Gregory.

    December 26, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
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