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. jorge washinsen

    It would seem with the carnage on our capitol streets that investigating an object that can harm no one except in the hands of a nut is taking away from the real problems of our big cities.Liberals created the mess we are in by taking the responsibility of making an honest living away from the individual for his vote and promising to take care of him.

    December 27, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  2. Marlene the Dream

    I'm sure David Gregory realizes that a lot of people, including me, no longer watch MTP and so is willing to resort to a stunt to get attention. Gregory is inept, and MTP is not even the same show since Russert's death. I admit those were big shoes to fill but surely NBC can do better.

    December 27, 2012 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  3. GOP is for the rich

    Sid Stewart said....

    "if it had been Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity an arrest would have been made".....actually if it was 'oxycodone' Rush would have gotten off....oops, he did!
    Hannity just needs to be arrested for being annoying! What a cry-baby!

    December 27, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  4. KevinP

    It really is simple, he broke the law. He broke the very law he wishes to see in place nation wide. Kinda funny to me. What course of action is left? Either prosecute him or admit the law is ineffective and strike it from the books.

    December 27, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  5. MagicPanties

    "...Several conservative commentators first raised the issue ..."

    Well, of course! This is probably the lead story on Faux News.
    Let's discuss anything other than rational gun control.

    December 27, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  6. GOP is for the rich

    What is it with all these 'sensible' gun nuts calling for the death penalty? They sure like to kill........

    December 27, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    The NRA and gun manufacturers have twisted the meaning of the 2nd Amendment in the minds of so many people that any meaningful, common sense discussion on preventing more tragedies that we have had to witness in 2012 seems beyond reach. The NRA and other groups have convinced people that the 2nd Amendment is parallel to the 1st Amendment, the freedom of speech. Enthusiasts believe that the 2nd Amendment gives them a guaranteed right to that the government shall not put any restrictions on guns, firearms, or any type of handheld weapon. Bad news, folks. That is not what the 2nd Amendment says, nor was it ever intended to be interpreted in that way.

    At the time of the writing of the Consitituion, the US did not have a formal standing army. The revolutionary forces were mostly a coalition of organized groups or militias comprised of citizens and average people. There were no national guard troops to call upon. There were no organized police forces at local, county, and state levels that we see today. But, most importantly, the people of that time who did participate in defending country and home did so on a volunteer basis. They were not conscripted, nor did they have to pay a fee to join and suffer membership dues.

    The 2nd Amendment was written to guarantee that any person with a gun could join or create a local "well regulated militia", which in those days, according to my right wing friends, meant a "well trained military force". The Amendment guarantees that some people will not be excluded. In those days, not everyone wanted "some people" to own a firearm because it was thought to be dangerous. The 2nd Amendment guarnateed the right of every citizen to own a firearm for the purpose of joining or forming a "well regulated militia". It is not a blank check to for individuals to form one man armies, become independent vigilantes, or for groups to form militias to rise up against the government.

    The 2nd Amendment laid the framework for our national defenxe as outlined and prescribed in the Preamble.

    December 27, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  8. KoolMO2

    I feel that the "prop" or even real clip was perhaps presented to the interview as a tangible connection to the recent [murders ~ not just Newtown] in which such clips have been used. Where laws may be that such clips are illegal in whatever place, the persons that are opposed to the removal of such clips need to have a real-time view of them. So many of us are so far removed from those murderous rampages ~ sure we feel bad, maybe hold those we love a little closer, maybe shed a tear for the pain the victims' families are going through. But, until those that oppose such bans, until they are face to face with the after-math, they will continue to advocate for their use. I believe that the NRA and the ban opposers should have been taken to that school and witnessed first hand whatever carnage there was among the water-colored paintings of the Alphabet, the butter flies, or various first-grader holiday acknowledgements. True, the man that did this was sick beyond sick and the epitome of cowardice. But, there remains the possibility that if the type of clips used in recent [murders ~ not just Newtown] were not available, the body count may be much, much lower....

    December 27, 2012 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  9. Anonymous


    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),

    Cayce - per the coroner - it WAS the .223 Bushmaster that killed all 26 victims. Lanza shot himself with the handgun that "doesn't spray bullets". Please try to keep up.

    December 27, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  10. Anonymous

    "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?"

    NBC will pay the $1,000 fine and life will go on for all of us.

    December 27, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  11. mike

    The Right to Keep and Bear Arms - much like the Right of Free Speech - is not negotiable. Its protections are not subject to the whims of majority opinion, nor the screaming demands of hyperventilating media personalities. All the social media trolls and opinion writers in the world can comment all they want on the Second Amendment, yet the individual right to keep and bear arms remains immutable.

    Just like the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment is not negotiable. No Governor, Senator or President has any power whatsoever to banish the Second Amendment, and any who attempt to oppose it only brand themselves as criminal traitors to the United States of America. Any active effort to eradicate the Second Amendment outside of law - without going through the proper process of state ratification for Constitutional amendments - is, by definition, an act of sedition against the United States of America and its people.

    Ironically, many who viciously attack the Second Amendment do so by invoking their free speech protections under the First Amendment. Yet they seem blind to the realization that the First Amendment itself is only made possible by the Second Amendment which balances power between the People and the government, ensuring that the individual right to bear arms serves as a check and balance against the monopoly of violence every government inherently seeks.

    December 27, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  12. WhyArePeopleWillingToGiveUpTheirLiberties


    Just when you think you've got it all figured out, then you realize you forgot about that pesky comma...

    "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, [and] the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    Replace the comma with "and" and you'll see what was intended by the Founding Fathers, which makes perfect sense when taken into context what they had been through.

    As for the 7-8 minutes to load a musket...Two things...I believe your time frames are "slightly" exaggerated, but more importantly they had the most technologically advanced weaponry for their time available to them, to defend themselves with. Given the forethought and wisdom they showed in writing the constitution, I think it is also insulting to assume they thought the barrel loading musket would be as far as firearm technology would advance.

    I do believe that the 2nd Amendment is what helps keep the other Amendments in good standing.

    Your comment leads me to believe that you aren't a "gun guy", and may never have been shooting...You should try it...Go to your local gun range, rent a gun, get some assistance and shoot in a controlled environment. Who knows, you might like it!

    December 27, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  13. Henry Miller

    The DC government has been famous for decades for its bone-headedness, and it's keeping its reputation intact.

    December 27, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  14. Anonymous

    "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."

    What an extremely simplistic argument. Others won't invade us because they fear we the people are armed? Didn't work too well for us on 9/11, did it? Oops. Guess what? Your Bushmaster isn't going to work too well against drones, missiles, or nukes either.

    Come on. Fess up, man. This isn't about the 2nd Amendment and government tyranny. It's about playing make believe. YOUR make believe.

    At some point, Mr. La Pierre is going to have to rethink his mental health defense. Including himself, there are a whole lot of gun owners in America who won't qualify for gun ownership under his thesis of underlining mental health issues and data-bank lists. A great, great many NRA members and survivalists will be on La Pierre's "mental health list" from the get go.

    December 27, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  15. Donna

    NBC asked the Washington DC police for permission to use it on the show and their request was denied. They used it anyways. Arrest him and charge him and let them explain it all to the judge and jury. The law is the law. He could have just held up a photo of a magazine but no, he had to go for the cheap stunt. Well, now thjey can pay the price, just like all the other citizens of DC would have to pay the price.

    December 27, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  16. lindaluttrell

    Most people have probably never seen such a device. It was a prop on his show to get his point across. How can that be breaking any laws??? Another example of the typical knee-jerk reactions in this country!

    December 27, 2012 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  17. Kemarman

    Has it dawned on any of the commenters here, that if that piece of metal is lacking an internal spring and pressure plate that advances the rounds upward, then it can no longer be designated as a 30 round clip (as described in the US patent details for that clip) and thereby it is merely a prop representing the outside surface of a clip. What all this pious flag waving does reveal is the extent NRA faithful will go to vilify anyone who dares cross their path.

    But more relevant, it highlights the fact that any gun law not mandated nationwide on a federal level is useless since there can be no way to stop interstate traffic of illegal goods from a state where legal.

    December 27, 2012 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  18. Rudy NYC


    The Right to Keep and Bear Arms – much like the Right of Free Speech – is not negotiable. Its protections are not subject to the whims of majority opinion, nor the screaming demands of hyperventilating media personalities.
    That is where the gun lobby has influenced public opinion for its' own self interests, profit. The 2nd Amendment is not comparable to the 1st. The 2nd does not guarantee you complete freedom to own, or bear, as many firearms, in an infinite variety. You have to consider the time and conditions when it was written.

    No. It guarantees the rights of citizens to participate in the national defense to protect the welfare of the country. It prohibits the government from excluding certain citizens. It prohibits the formation of an exclusive army comprised of loyalists to a singular authority, like what you had in Europe at the time. It prohibits the government from denying citizens the right to protect their country, and their welfare, as outlined in the Preamble.

    December 27, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  19. Tom1940

    Mr. Gregory along with the rest of NBC News never saw the movie "Dumb & Dumber". This is one of those moments.
    A quick call to "legal" would have confirmed that having a "high capacity firearms magazine" in one's possession in WDC is in fact a felony! Funny how, media personalities in trying to "make a point", feel they are "above the law", protected by 1st Amendment rights. (Conveniently ignoring the fact, without the guarantees of the 2nd Amendment, there would be no 1st Amendment. High capacity firearms magazines do not kill people – People kill people. Bring on the forensics – i.e. FBI Profilers, Psychiatrists, and other Professional folks who deal with these perps on a daily basis and explain the intricacies of a mind bend on committing mayhem, death, carnage and destruction and forget about the method used. China is not banning knives in the wake of school attacks – they are going after the perps. Rightly so.

    December 27, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  20. MikeyD74

    Anonymous – per the coroner – it WAS the .223 Bushmaster that killed all 26 victims. Lanza shot himself with the handgun that "doesn't spray bullets". Please try to keep up.
    hate to tell you the bushmaster .223 doesnt "spray bullets" either. its a semi auto just like the handgun.

    please try to keep up

    December 27, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  21. Anonymous

    "High capacity firearms magazines do not kill people"

    Of course not. Well, not in you little world anyway. But, hey. Good luck explaining that to the families of those 26 victims who have just buried their children and mothers. One assumes the coroner included cause of death as gunshot wounds - not Adam Lanza - on the appropriate lines of each of their death certificates.

    December 27, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  22. just sayin

    it is just a major miracle that the magazine didn't go wild on national television and kill everybody in the studio. we all now know, thanks to the liberals, just how dangerous these magazines can be.

    December 27, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  23. Rustydog42

    I wonder what Wayne would do if Gregory had the magazine "attached" to a military style semi-automatic rifle, and pointed it at him by "accident". According to D.C. law, would the violation be the same?

    December 27, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  24. Anonymous


    Anonymous – per the coroner – it WAS the .223 Bushmaster that killed all 26 victims. Lanza shot himself with the handgun that "doesn't spray bullets". Please try to keep up.
    hate to tell you the bushmaster .223 doesnt "spray bullets" either. its a semi auto just like the handgun.

    please try to keep up

    Oops. I'd forgotten how argumentative many of you on the right are. So, for your benefit alone, I've cut and pasted Cayce's entire comment. Enjoy.

    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 27, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  25. minnie

    This is the silliest thing I ever heard. Oh, sure, arrest a guy for showing a magazine not attached to a gun in order to make a point about how lethal automatic weapons are, but don't dare make the slightest effort to keep REAL GUNS out of the hands of lunatics. It would infringe on their freedom to slaughter women and children. Please.

    December 27, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
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