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. Don in Auburn

    Typical hypocritical "progressive" posturing. The very rules they want to apply to us should not apply to them. We can not defend ourselves, but their heavily armed bodyguards are there to defend them. They think: "Even if the police tell me in advance not to do it, and remind me that simple possession of a high capacity magazine in DC is illegal, who cares? After all I am the media, I am an elite, I am breaking rules for a good cause and so the rules don't apply to me. Even if they do, I have $1,600/hour lawyers paid for by somebody else ready to defend me because waving around a small empty grey metal box somehow proved what a tough journalist I am and deserving of my seven figure salary. "

    December 26, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  2. Larry L

    @Steve Lyons

    It will be a great day when an innocent "law abiding" journalist gets the gas chamber for violating a weapons restriction like so many liberals want to have done to "gun owners".
    Who are those liberals who want gun owners to face the death penalty? Could you be spending too much time listening to Fox News? Your time would be better spent explaining why citizens need high-capacity magazines, recoil-operated devices to increase the rate of fire, and ratcheted triggers. With fewer than 1% of Americans now able to call themselves veterans, you might also explain the fascination with tactical military equipment. If people want to use military weapons the opportunity has been abundantly available for ten years.

    December 26, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  3. DENNA

    @Love23- Am I misunderstanding something? He's brandishing an illegal object to make a point that they should be illegal?
    I doubt you understand at all. This has to stop. Arming everyone is not the answer. It will be just a matter of time before some solid citizen trying to stop a crime will kill an innocent person.

    December 26, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  4. Willow

    I find this all highly ironic. Surely NBC has someone who could have given him a photo instead?

    December 26, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  5. eric

    If LaPierre had pulled out that clip to make a point you Libbys would be screaming bloody murder. NBC asked about the law, were informed that the clip is illegal, and produced it knowing full well what the consequences could be. Hate to break it to you Dembots but the laws apply equally to all, no matter how well respected you are in your "profession." Stupidity has never been an acceptable legal defense. Charge him, prosecute and let the chips fall where they may.

    December 26, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  6. NoNeedForAName

    I personally don't care that he had a 30rnd magazine. However, if we're going to have laws – they need to be applied evenly and fairly. I don't care what point he was trying to make. It's not about stepping on anyone's toes, it's not about whether you support gun rights or not. It's about the plain and simple fact that for years half our problem has been not enforcing the laws we have.
    Since you cannot legally possess a standard capacity (notice i said standard and not high) magazine in DC, that means someone had to go outside of DC, buy this mag, and bring it to the city, and give it to him to use. That is illegal, PERIOD.

    Not only is it illegal, but they called and asked and were told no, so they KNEW they were breaking the law. Sorry – but, got no sympathy for them.

    December 26, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    "If people want to use military weapons the opportunity has been abundantly available for ten years."

    And prove what wussies they truly are? Not a chance. Instead they post their witticisms on the blogosphere and consider themselves the next Clint Eastwood.

    December 26, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  8. Dr. Rick Stoppe

    1. Require a criminal and mental background check for every gun sold anywhere by anyone. 2. Ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines that enable mass killings. 3.Make gun trafficking a federal crime with stiff penalties for anyone who arms criminals. The issue in this article is mute since we do not know if it is real or simulated. Regardless, newscasters should be allowed to show the public what is available. If it violates a local ordinance, all notification to police of intent should be all that is necessary.

    December 26, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  9. svann

    Maybe "a law is a law", but if you need to ask the person of interest whether he broke the law or not then you obviously have no evidence a law was broken.

    December 26, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  10. Andrew

    Though shalt not speak out against the NRA police state.

    December 26, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  11. Bob

    Ha, ha, ha..... it's a felony. Lock him up next to a "real" criminal.

    December 26, 2012 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  12. outofcontrol

    I saw part of the interview that gregory did with Lapierre. It was a crock. He didn't put Lapierre on the spot as that interview was meant to do.
    No tough questions no honest answers from weasels.

    December 26, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  13. OBG

    Apparently David Gregory and NBC believe they are above the law. What other illegal activities is NBC engaged in?

    December 26, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  14. Former Republican, now an Independent

    Several conservative commentators raised the issue with police, yet they favor making these available to everyone. Some of these so called "conservative commentators" are nothing more than neo-fascists like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.

    December 26, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  15. fernace

    That's right, you can't Show a 30 round magazine of bullets on TV, but you can certainly Own a gun, or several, that it's attatched to! What kind of madness is this!? According to La Pierre "it wont make 1 difference" to stop the legal ownership of such weapons, or minimize the capacity, because we have to always be ready for the "criminal element" who try to mug or rob us! Meanwhile, neighbors shoot eachother during arguements, kid's "accidentally" kill themselves w/unsecured guns & unstable individuals can legally arm themselves like Rambo, to shoot up movie theaters & elementary schools! Fine, no New laws, but how about if we get a bit more diligent about Enforcing those already on the books! That would be a good place to start!!

    December 26, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  16. David

    This just proves that the media cares less about the laws than us law abiding citizens. He broke the law. Although I am sure that nothing will happen to him.

    December 26, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  17. Pete

    I'm a concealed weapon permit,gun owner and like the above poster said if idiots like the NRA,others are so fascinated with automatic weapons as the M16,AR15 or AK47 there's been a war overseas for 10 years you can join to see how they work but remember guys those you shoot at over there shoot back!!!

    December 26, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  18. rehovot

    I would rather spend police resources on more meaningful activitites, rather than going after the journalist who is showing an empty magazine on his show to illustrate the killing power of the guns that are considered legal in the country. No surpise pro-gun lobby supporters were quick to notice, and place the blame on a gun ban supporter

    December 26, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  19. cardog

    I'm really having a hard time understanding the logic of this story. Gregory shows a magazine while doing an interview and he's now under investigation??? People all over this country own AR15 semi-automatic assault rifles, yet the politicians, the law enforcement agencies can only hew haw around wondering what to do??? Twenty young lives are snuffed out in less then 10 minutes and no one from the President down wants to take this issue of gun ownership on because of some insane idea that Americans have the right to bear arms. I'm no constitutional scholar but if you read the 2nd amendment, it appears to be directed at a different citizen group and a different time, yet the Supreme Court being the cowards they are will not properly rule on this amendment. No one wants to take the right to bear arms away from anyone, but something must be done about owning weapons that are only in existence to kill and maim human beings.

    December 26, 2012 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  20. Matt


    How many more innocent people will have to die? Does the NRA care? Maybe we should be arming our children too? How about arming the firefighters? Two were killedand two were wounded when they responded by a house fire – lured there by the owner, who apparently set fire to his own home to get them there. Where does this all end or has America gone completely and collectively gun crazy?
    Maybe you failed to realize that that pyro was a convicted murderer that could not own a gun legally and had to BREAK THE LAW to obtain it in the first place, was placing well aimed shots. So 30 bullets or not, it only takes 1 aimed shot. Having a bolt action would have done little to stop him. He burned down homes inh is neighborhood, How many dozens of crimes did he committ? Yet you want to bring him into the discussion? The man would have killed reguardless of the laws, because he broke laws posessing guns which in turn were to break further laws.

    It has nothing to do with gun control, it has to do with poor mental health system and letting someone that killed his family member with a hammer out of prison.. Guy should have been locked up longer.

    December 26, 2012 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  21. 52woody


    That's rediculous. He was making a point!
    I guess if 30 rounders get banned we can all tell the police We were just making a point.

    December 26, 2012 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  22. m

    By all means let's spend our tax dollars on something as STUPID
    as this investigation! This government is insane!

    December 26, 2012 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  23. Cayce

    First off, that's an assault rifle extended clip he's holding. The shooter in Newtown didn't use an assault rifle (he left the Bushmaster .223 in his car), so displaying this particular clip was plainly & simply sensationalist showboating. The shooter used two 9mm handguns, the kind that don't spray bullets: the trigger has to be pulled for each shot. So the difference between 30-round and 13-round clips would have slowed down the carnage that morning by only about 2 seconds.
    The real tragedy here, after the fact of the shooting itself, is that the press is so busy milking the event for ratings that it is keeping everyone's attention away from the real problem, focusing on the symptoms instead cause. The real problem is that we, all of us, as a culture, are manufacturing the lunatics that are committing these atrocities. They aren't coming out of nowhere. We're creating them. How? Hmmm... let's think...
    The best-selling movies and television programs are about settling issues with violence, most often with guns. The best selling video games are created around guns and violence. We raise our children on these things into a world that is becoming more and more depressing, and when one of them snaps and reacts in the way he's been programmed to respond, everyone's dumbfounded, like, "OMG! How could this happen?!!"
    Seriously? We really can't put two and two together here? We'd rather pretend to be that stupid that to admit we're asking for it every single day?
    So, how many more innocents have to die? However many it takes until we get more honest about the root of the problem. Hint: it's not about guns.

    December 26, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  24. johnnyph12

    yes, let's put him in jail and have him go to trial and spend thousands in tax payer money to prosecute the case because the law is the law is the law. I guess we will do anything to prove a point of being right.

    December 26, 2012 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  25. Aezel

    Ah yes, clearly a news host holding up an empty magazine is a big deal. Probably what happened was internal communication issues at NBC. The Police have better things to worry about.

    December 26, 2012 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
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