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. dwech

    It's a news story, folks, and if the news story had been about cutting heroin use, and Gregory were to use a needle-and-spoon kit to make a point, you wouldn't give it a second thought. And ironic that gun-loving types (Dem and GOP alike) seem to gloss over other illegal acts that take place in and around their hobby without blinking. Outrage over illegal arm sales at gun shows? You're not going to hear that from any of you. What IS disturbing, is LaPierre's NRA statement about arming teachers and putting armed security in schools. Anyone who thinks more guns solve the gun violence problem is an idiot.

    December 26, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  2. Elliott Carlin

    Larry, there has even been a Congressman from Connecticut state gun owners and NRA types have 'blood on their hands' for what happened in CT. This lunacy from the Left has to cease..otherwise we'll be forced to call on restrictions to what they can and cannot say (1st ammendment)-i mean after all, there ought to be a law against hate speech-o wait, there are laws about that. See how well it works?

    December 26, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  3. M.D. McMullen

    Mr. Gregory possessed the very item that is already illegal in DC, while he was in DC and then asserts that a law banning that item would keep people from possessing it. I think he answered his own question.

    December 26, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  4. debbie

    This should not be illegal, was empty and not attached, what harm could be done by using this as a prop, which is exactly how it was used. Talk about stupid laws.

    December 26, 2012 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  5. trex

    ..........and the NRA says they do NOT have 20 kids BLOOD ON THEIR HANDS................

    December 26, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  6. Thomasjeff1776

    Just when you think the media cannot sink any lower, they pull something like this. I am not sure what is more hilarious, a pompous 'journalist' breaking a law as he preaches to someone while advocating for more laws of the same.....or a self centered media who now wants to not be accountable to a law as they preach to us unwashed racist commoners to obey all existing and future laws. I do love it....whats it going to be NBC? Consequences for just the people? Or do your beloved gun laws not apply to leftist 'journalists'? And you want even more gun laws. Will they apply to only people who voted for the other guy?

    December 26, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  7. Greenspam

    I am sure Washington DC police have no crime needed to be solved and so they have all this free time to investigate NBC for this interview.

    December 26, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  8. Greenspam

    Police should stop wasting its time and the court's time. No jury in America will convict someone because of this. Is there no crime in Washington DC anymore?

    December 26, 2012 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  9. carol

    Yeah, arrest David, thats the answer.

    December 26, 2012 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  10. WMesser58

    Really, this is story he was doing a "STORY" how inane can the police be. Stop wasting money on this and go after real criminals and stop wasting taxpayers money on a non-issue.

    December 26, 2012 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  11. Smack Dab

    This is so dumb. You see, criminals (not news people) don't care about the law, that is why they do what they do. To limit how many bullets you can have in a magazine doesn't stop anyone from carrying more magazines. This is as dumb as stopping people from buying a 32 ounce drink. They will just buy more drinks. As far as the David Gregory SHOWING a gun clip for demonstration purposes being ILLEGAL is incredible, and unconstitutional on it's face. We are all adults, we can handle it. So what it is illegal in D.C. Maybe he could have driven outside of D.C. just a few yards and done the story. Ironically, he was trying to make the point that guns are bad. I'm wondering if this applies to movies shown in Washington, D.C.? What should happen to David Gregory? Nothing.

    December 26, 2012 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  12. Ilidio Serra

    Maybe Mr. Gregory's next article/story will be how stringent existing gun laws are in the country as he serves so jail time for his dumb stunt.

    Gun laws in this country are real and have bite if you violate them. No matter who you think you are.

    December 26, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  13. sonnie3

    Did nbc break the law?? They sure did. Now we will see what our so called Justice Department will do about it. I already know, Not One Darn Thing!

    December 26, 2012 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  14. Al in Alabama

    Here is just another example that gun laws are not enforced. Ban clips. Ban Rifles. Nut cases and biased media will always get a free pass.

    December 26, 2012 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  15. john

    Prosecution unlikely. Sure they dismantled and rendered the original magazine inert. Only a prop by the time it was in front of the camera.

    December 26, 2012 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Nothing will happen. But it is funny.

    December 26, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  17. Tony

    Can we have some common sense here? The guy was simply holding up an empty magazine for demonstrative purposes for the viewers on national television. I don't care if they are illegal in Washington DC, or that anyone feels that if Gregory isn't punished in some way, the laws aren't being applied fairly. This is just plain silly. Spending taxpayer dollars and law enforcement manpower on this? The gun lobby is screaming to arrest the guy. Yeah, well grow the hell up. There are 20 dead kids in Newtown, Connecticut. Perhaps you should turn your attention to that real tragedy and stop with this ridiculous diversion. What did you fear David Gregory was going to do? Hit Wayne LaPierre on the hand with an empty piece of metal?

    December 26, 2012 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  18. shoos

    I hope it was a prop because breaking the law to make a point is still breaking the law. Where's the honor in that?

    December 26, 2012 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  19. bill Fitzgerald

    good guys with guns kill bad guys with guns. Yes, it is that simple.

    December 26, 2012 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  20. John Stroud

    It looks like a prop to me. The casing doesn't look right to me to be real. A real casing would have a platform with a spring behind it pushing the platform downward (he is holding the casing up side down). There is no platform showing in the above photo. It is empty box maked to look like a magazine.

    December 26, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  21. jorgath

    If this article's summation of the law was correct, David Gregory did nothing illegal...if there were no bullets in the magazine.

    "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."

    If it didn't have more than 10 rounds of ammunition in it, it wasn't "holding" that many.

    December 26, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  22. Kory Porporino

    This is moronic, and obviously a way to better publicize the "gun ban" effort by hanging a television host out to dry. I'll define a high-cap magazine from a military stand-point. It's a casket magazine (holds sixty-one-hundred rounds, looks just like a 30-round banana clip, such as the one Gregory has in-hand above) or a drum or box magazine, the drum being more popular for assault rifles and the box being used primarily as the standard magazine for light machine guns (LMG's.) What he is holding there is a STANAG magazine, the standard NATO magazine for 5.56 rifles such as the M4, M-16, so-on and so-forth. Holds 20-30 rounds. We're wasting time frying TV hosts while people with a history of violence or psychological disorders can purchase the real high-cap magazines, foregrips, and after-market optics without so much as an alert to local law enforcement. I give this a D+ for addressing the serious issues of gun controls but an A++ for keeping this stupidity in the mainstream.

    December 26, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  23. Tom

    Please just enforce the law. Honestly not enforcing gun laws have been the norm.

    December 27, 2012 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  24. NYBrotha

    Give him the max 1 year and $1000 fine.

    No leniency with gun laws or those who violate them!

    December 27, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  25. Joe

    There are laws that everyone needs to abide by and there are laws that only NBC doesn't need to abide by.

    December 27, 2012 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
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