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)

    Tell me how hypocritical this is....The media which is protected under the 1st Amendment's "Freedom of the Press"; uses that protection to infringe upon the 2nd Amendment's protection "to keep and bear arms"?

    December 27, 2012 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  2. A person

    "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."

    Gun owners and enthusiasts need not justify the why's of gun rights, simplly because it is a right, not a privledge. The gun control proponents need to better explain how their ideas will actually work. We saw during the last assult gun ban that nothing was accomplished, why would that change now?

    December 27, 2012 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
  3. A person

    Actually, I hope he is prosecuted, if only to find out how NBC defends him. What are they going to do to justify it? Say the law is not constitutional, or it should not apply? This whole scenario puts the Liberal leaning NBC into a pretty bad situation of defending one of their own being prosecuted because of a law they are campaigning for!

    December 27, 2012 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  4. A person


    Because the DC Police Department has nothing better to do of course except 'investigate' something that clearly had no malice intended, was meant as a 'teaching/demonstration' device, and with no firearm even in the room much less attached is simply a metal box with no potential for danger greater than a popcorn tin. Well done. Tax dollars well spent in protecting the citizenry. *sheesh*"

    So is that the same as if La Piere brought in a unloaded disabled Bushmaaster to the Studio? Yea, that is what I thought.

    December 27, 2012 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  5. mcc

    Arrest him – he broke the law. You can't argue for a law... and then say it does not apply to you. He brought a 30 clip mag into the capitol city of all places. Someone could have stolen it and used it in a mass murder now – couldn't they?

    December 27, 2012 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  6. A person

    "The REAL Truth..

    @Jim – "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
    Not a lot of room for misinterpretation if you ask me.
    Jim, so about the rest of the sentence that states "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state." ????
    When put back to the front of the sentence – where it belongs (and is conveniently ignored by the NRA) – and in context, it makes a WHOLE lot of difference !! While the founding fathers may have been visionistic in their approach to the constitution, back then it took at least 8 or more minutes to load a musket. They could not possible having seen repeating shot weapons, never mind automatic weapons like the AR-15 being generally available to the public, .. that and having been written 200+ years ago. ."

    There is an inconvenient comma between those two sentences. "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Concidering that "The people" rose up to bear arms against the British, it is pretty clear that the writters of the constitution did not intend for the goverment to be the only ones that possessed guns, and the goverment through the years has supported that interpretation, as we the people still have guns. The term "well regulated militia" does not require that those possessing guns belong to a goverment organized and approved militia. It can be a private militia of any sort. In fact, one of our founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson thought that it is good for a armed citizenry to rise up every so often to tear down a goverment. One of the things liberals and our goverment most fears is the fact that it's own citizens are armed and able to resist tyranny. Heck, Japan decided not to invade during WWII simplly because we were armed. Not only would they have to fight goverment military forces, but also the people.

    December 27, 2012 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  7. ma & pa

    The Cause of the killing is not the capacity of the gun magazine, but the killer's lack of capacity to GOVERN HIMSELF in a manner that is moral and just. That capacity, developed in everyone to direct THEMSELVES to kindliness rather than killing, is the ONE human ability that could make all external manmade laws obsolete.

    December 27, 2012 02:45 am at 2:45 am |
  8. BooHoo

    Lets not skirt the issue here. All irrationality by the rabid pro-gun maniacs aside. If real and not just a prop he can pay his fine as would ANY OTHER CItizen (even NRA spokespeople). Point is NRA views any common sense means to try to protect the rest of society from gun toting idiots and crazy people as being off the table. No compromise ever (just like the GOP). Statistics are clear many gun deaths in this country are suicide (leading cause) and crimes of rage or passion – not planned out ahead by hardened criminals. Many guns are legally obtained or come form those who legally obtained them. Lets apply laws like Australia's or Israel's. WIth tighter controls – illegal guns are harder to obtain. Instead the NRA wants armed guards in every school, and I guess now armed guards in every fire truck (Webster) and I guess armed guards in every police car (houston) ... wait a sec... Call Wayne Robespierre, he's got all of the answers...

    December 27, 2012 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  9. ma & pa

    And, if everyone behaved kindly to one-another, sweet flowers would spring forth to replace meanness, and none of this rediculous, devisive flap would have happened...and we'll DEFEND our little, peaceful space any way we can.

    December 27, 2012 03:18 am at 3:18 am |
  10. Fricker88

    There are exceptions to every rule and this should be one. Holding it in his hand made the presentation that much more effective. The was no ill intent, just picky-picky nit pickers.................

    December 27, 2012 03:37 am at 3:37 am |
  11. ma & pa

    These distracting happenings continue to occur and be publicized, diverting our gaze from threatening world events that we hope won't affect us.

    December 27, 2012 03:40 am at 3:40 am |
  12. William

    Do you really think they are going to prosecute a tv news personality? We live in a judicial world where Lindsey Lohan can be arrested, violate her probation multiple times and is still allowed to go unpunished. The network will get fined by the FCC and thats it. In regards to the 2nd Amendment, if they outlaw high capacity clips, it doesn't mean you can not own a gun & defend your property, you just will have to make the first 10 rouns count. We have freedom of speech, but you can not use it where you cause harm to the public, ex: yelling fire in a crowded room. The outlawing of theses magazines is for the greater good.

    December 27, 2012 04:14 am at 4:14 am |
  13. John McCormick

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

    It's ironic that Gregory just proved LaPierre point that a law won't make one difference being since he obtained an item that was already banned where he is located.

    December 27, 2012 04:51 am at 4:51 am |
  14. Steve- Illinois

    Thousands of gun laws on the books, most not being enforced, and this eliteist, and his network, choose to knowingly break the law on national t.v., while ranting for the creation of even more laws. They should charge Gregory for the crime, and fine the network for promoting him doing it. Where's the FCC? Libs love regulations, so let's get the FCC to take action against NBC. Unless libs like Maddow, and Mathews publicly speak out against Gregory, they just prove to be the hypocrites any reasonable thinking person has always known them to be. Could you imagine the outcry from these libs had a conservative blatantly broke the law on national t.v.?

    December 27, 2012 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  15. noclue

    If your comments include words like "libby" or "dembot", or "repug" are clearly neither mature, nor intelligent enough to be sharing and debating viewpoints with other adults. Let alone own a weapon.

    I say that getting a drivers license and a gun permit should both be much more difficult and expensive. Too many people out there that are not qualified, yet have both.

    December 27, 2012 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  16. Scott B

    Are they trying to motivate people against these regulations? This is nuts that they would go after someone using it in a media demonstration to inform people. These magazines are all over DC owned by criminals, but the one that's getting investigated is the normal citizen trying to do their job.

    December 27, 2012 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  17. fiftyfive55

    We have so many street gangs in America that they created a television show about them called Gangland and now the govt wants to disarm lawful citizens in favor of these minority populated street gangs ? We have 10 million or more(who really k nows how many) illegal alien invaders in our country and the govt wants to now disarm us ?what's wrong with that picture ?

    December 27, 2012 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  18. David

    The NRA is not relevant and does not have influence amongst 98 % of Americans. Only the dim witted consider them revelant.

    December 27, 2012 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  19. Washington Is Out Of Touch with reality

    why?, nothing will happen, this guy is in obama's pocket and he is nothing more than a pawn in the gun game and using this he is helping obama remove more of the peoples rights. this is a dictators pawn and we know who wants to transform America and become dictator, its obama and he will rename it to ameribama and place more on welfare, food stamps and government aid. look at it now as your taxes will go up and obama wants control of your life. its time for the real patriots to stand up and stop these treasonous acts by the elected officials and by these reporters that think they report what we want to hear.

    December 27, 2012 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  20. Roger Ritter

    Of all the stupid things that occur under the guise of the Free Speech Amendment (such as burning the American Flag) why would not this be covered?!

    December 27, 2012 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  21. Rudy NYC

    @Sid Stewart – "if it had been Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity an arrest would have been made. '
    Arrest him for what? They would need the physical evidence. They have none so far.

    @haystupid – "a law is a law, nbc asked the police about doing that for the segment on tv and the police said no, a crime is a crime is a crime."
    A crime is a crime, but the part about NBC previously approaching DC police is a right wing conspiracy theory.

    Whatever happend to common sense? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

    December 27, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  22. Kelby in Houston, TX

    This story is not so important that it should be listed as "Trending" at the very top of the ticker™ for 3 days. There ARE other MORE important stories CNN should be focusing on and subsequently, its consumers should be focused on

    December 27, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  23. brad

    This man and NBC deserve to get fined for possesion of an illegal device, and they probably will. However, all the hate, and stupid comments over it are just to cover up the real issue. Weapons on the street, that have no buisness their. I believe every sane person has a right to arms. However, I do not believe that just because a weapon exist, you have a right to it. You didn't create it, you don't have a right to it. People who horde guns, are nothing more than crazy people, watch them.

    December 27, 2012 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  24. clarke

    Oh come on, what a waste of time. Really!

    December 27, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  25. TimM.

    Does anyone recall when Bush41 displayed a baggie of crack obtained in D.C.? At the time-1989-things were so bad that they were selling crack right in the hood around 1600 PA. Ave.
    Except they weren't-just a little pot.
    To accommodate a p.r. stunt DEA agents set up a buy in Lafayette Park-by arranging a 3 oz purchase with a known dealer from blocks away. The UC agent simply specified his preferred location and the seller happily accommodated.
    Legally, Bush's dope was evidence already, and the UC agent who bought it stayed with to preserve the chain of custody, but the fact remains the President displayed, within the city limits, a product illegal to possess.
    We all realize that visual aides are powerful tools. Governments have long appreciated this in creating propaganda.
    David Gregory surely remembers the Bush crack, and maybe figured that his use of the clip merited a bye, derived as it was. The greater good of the public is being served in both cases; that is, disseminating information about scourges to our society (legal or not). And very likely neither party held the remotest intention to actually use their respective products in the intended or designed fashion. So why not just let it go? Save jail or prison space for the minorities and pot smokers, as apparently intended by some folks wiser than most of us. There's only so much justice to go around, and we ought ta let the government decide who gets it.

    December 27, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
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