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. John Black Hills SD

    It was purchased legally outside of DC....isn't this the excuse that NRA ninny gave about Lanza's weapon that is illegal to "purchase" but not to have in Conn.. If you're not in the military or on a SWAT team, you don't need a weapon designed to hunt other humans. We have too many mentally deficient citizens who think life in the states is an action TV show, which it isn't.

    December 26, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  2. mikedenney

    It's a prop NOW.

    December 26, 2012 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  3. Thisiswrong

    So laws don't apply to RICH white people and they should be off arresting poor intercity people instead? All of you defending this guy are racist. Let the rich guy off for what they would lockup the poor guy for = equality? Justice? The laws MUST apply to ALL of us or NON of us, CAN'T have it both ways.

    December 26, 2012 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  4. midnitejax

    Now how sad is it that a reporter on TV will be prosecuted under the law for showing an empty magazine to viewers, and all the gun happy kooks will go down to their favorite shooting gallery, and empty those very same magazines unthwarted by law enforcement?

    December 26, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  5. Smelly Kat

    Does anyone else think it is a little hypocritical for high capacity clips to be banned in the town where our elected officals live and work?

    December 26, 2012 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  6. cancerman48

    This is funny. What is good for the general public i guess is not good enough for them. Trying to hid behind the guise of the 1st amendment. I would say anyone who has spent time in the military can tell you that the 30rd mags have a distinctive sound when put down. I find it ludicrous that "because the ATF said it was ok" please they even stated they do not enforce the D.C. laws that is not their jurisdiction. Yet we know that all parties involved will lie through their eye teeth under oath that it was fake to protect themselves and ignore the laws.

    December 26, 2012 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  7. Kemarman

    If that piece of metal is lacking internal spring and plate then it can no longer be designated as a 30 round clip, as described in the US patent details, and then merely a prop. But it does reveal the extent NRA faithful will go to vilify anyone who dares cross their path.

    December 26, 2012 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  8. dan

    Did anyone notice that they were disasenbled??

    December 26, 2012 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  9. janelle

    Well David Gregory proved the point! A magazine holding more than 10 rounds of ammo is illegal in Washington DC, yet, see how easy it was for him to get hold of one? Gee, you think it'll be any harder for anyone else to get hold of them if they are illegal anywhere else?

    December 26, 2012 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  10. Big D

    Hang on, if those mags are illegal in DC how did he get one then? The law should have stopped him, right? Does this mean that more laws won't stop firearm crimes from happening? I mean this guy isn't what I'd call a true criminal after all and if he could break the law so effortlessly how easy would it be for a person hell bent on doing someone harm to get hold of something even worse? I'm going to have to rethink my position on this now...

    December 26, 2012 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  11. belinda

    They should be out there, trying to find out how so many people are getting their hands on illegal guns and ammunition.We are sick of seeing clear evidence of our tax payer money, going towards trying to use the law, in a way(political) that it was not meant to be. What a waste of time and money. I bet the president of the NRA is trying to use this as a distraction from his brutal, insensitive comments, concerning Sandy Hook. Corporations have too much power. They don't care about American families. 2014 will change everything.

    December 26, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  12. Thespoon

    Okay, I am Canadian and a little (but not very) naive on the U.S.A. The article indicates "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." Obviously, large game hunting does not occur in DC, but it may occur in states outside of DC... so, what can anyone hunt/do that requires a ten round magazine? Deer? no, either down or gone after one shot... Moose? no, they may not bolt after the first shot, but if you are still shooting after three shots, give your head a shake (and slither under the rug)... which, leads us back to the original question...

    December 26, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  13. Phil

    Well, is it illegal if he is not the owner of the magazine? Did he actually purchase it, or did someone else who worked there purchase it? Can the police prove that he is the "owner" of the magazine?

    December 26, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  14. Olaf Big

    Actually, NBC cannot lose one way or the other. They win publicity they want if the magazine was real, because it is clear that the intent of the host had nothing to do with the intent of the law that bans such magazines. So, if the host gets a slap on the wrist, it is a small price to pay. But since they inquired in advance, they probably used a prop. Case closed.

    December 26, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  15. Leopold Stotch

    Lock him up. He broke the law.

    December 26, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  16. steve's libville investigating a lib, nothing will happen.

    December 26, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  17. thorn

    So now this journalist is in the samd category of those knowingly break the firearm laws to do what he want. Just proved that gun laws are for those whose follow the laws, not those criminals who break the laws.

    December 26, 2012 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  18. Dogeater

    Further demonstrating that GUN LAWS DON'T WORK!

    December 26, 2012 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  19. Bystander

    If Gregory had held up a picture depicting child pornography and showed it to viewers to make a point about laws relevant to that topic, would people be so forgiving ? No matter how "noble" his intention, I doubt people would be so forgiving for his and NBC's lack of discretion and respect of the law. But here, apparently his flagrant disregard is "acceptable".despite being advised not to do so. Hypocrites.

    December 26, 2012 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    HELLO, murders and mass murders were going on for centuries before guns were ever thought of. In reality, gun laws only affect the law abiding citizens not the criminals and not the sickos. Years ago my father had a bumper sticker that said " if guns are Outlawed only Outlaws will have guns ". Think about it people, is that what you want? Look around you right now, use your imagination and you'll realize that in one way or another most things can be used to hurt or kill another person but that doesn't mean that you will ever use them that way. People need to focus on the criminals and the sickos not the guns. Guns are only dangerous in the wrong hands.

    December 26, 2012 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  21. Eric

    Would you Americans just get it overwith and just all kill each other? You dont need fences to keep immigrants out, the world needs fences to keep you savages in!

    December 26, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  22. Beau Vallee

    The issue at Sandy hook is not a gun control issue by an issue of poor choices that resulted in the demise of so many undeserving. To place limits on types of guns could be compared to attacking the 1st Amendment and telling the media to stop being biased and report fair unbiased reports. If you'll agree then I'll agree to give you some of my magazines.

    December 26, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  23. spock500

    An interesting and provocative story. Do we know if those magazines are authentic?

    December 26, 2012 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  24. ccaros

    The case would be laughed out of any court.

    First he has to intent in order to be breaking the law. His intent was to show people the size of a large clip, not to use it with a gun.

    December 26, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  25. Brian P

    Cops: Mr. Gregory, was that magazine a prop, or was it real?

    Mr. Gregory: Yes. I'm pretty sure it was what you said, a prop or real. Lol

    December 26, 2012 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
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