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. Cobra

    Yes, by all means check out the clip, it could have killed Gregory just by its self.

    December 25, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  2. Chris

    It wouldn't make any difference at all. Someone on a mission with nothing to lose could just make a magazine of any size. It's 2 pieces of plastic and a spring.

    December 25, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  3. Love23

    Am I misunderstanding something? He's brandishing an illegal object to make a point that they should be illegal?

    December 25, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  4. Frank

    Yes,was are in place. So more laws will only impact the law abiling citizen. Not the criminal.

    How about. REAL solution. Not just something that makes liberals all warm and fuzzy?

    December 25, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  5. Joseph Schimming

    This just shows that gun laws don't work. Criminals and now news anchors continue to flout existing laws. Pretty funny though. I'm glad CNN decided to use itself as an example in support of law abiding gun owners by demonstrating that restrictive gun laws don't work.

    December 25, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  6. Jwbunn

    I think he should be prosecuted to the fullest regardless of why he had it.

    December 25, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  7. SokrMom

    Love that last sentence. So conservatives are really concerned about enforcement of gun-control laws (at least, as long as they are ineffective and don't really take anyone's guns or ammunition away).

    December 25, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  8. ohio

    how ridiculous. "several conservative commentators. . . ."
    that is all i need to read.

    December 25, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  9. mer

    hi-la-ri-ous. only thing funnier is that lawyers are lining up to defend him using the 2nd Amendment. you can't dream this stuff up.

    December 25, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  10. Jwbunn

    Neither his criminal background or intent should have any reason for leniency. He possessed it, therefore he is a criminal.

    December 25, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  11. Vicki

    Nothing wrong with showing a gun in this innocent way on Meet the Press. It is other horrible ways that guns are used that are the concern.

    December 25, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  12. Jokesterer

    How did that clip even exist? I thought banning them made them disappear.

    December 25, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  13. Larry Mason

    I'm sure Mr. Gregory will claim it was a prop, but sure looked real to me. His whole attitude during the course of the interview seemed to be biased and offensive.

    December 25, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  14. lewtwo

    Prosecute to the full extent of the law and show how the law works.

    December 25, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  15. HSM

    Either its the law or not. If it is enforce it on everyone. Having laws that only apply to 'bad' people or certain people is not the way to go. Lot of laws on the books. Maybe if we should started enforcing them or deleting them

    December 25, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  16. ronjayaz

    This is so much balderdash that one is impulsed to ask, "Dont they have anything better to do in Washington except investigate 'innocent' violation at best! The cuntry's absurd. And remember the old Spanish saying, "Major muerto, que absurdo" Better dead than asburd.

    December 25, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  17. joe2sixpacks

    Good for people to share their feelings, politicans to express their views and the NRA to respond with their insights. Gregory is adding to the process by illustrating the hardware and getting feedback as well. Its a challenging issue with strong feelings and economic interests being exposed. Our values as a people will be reflected in the outcome. Go USA!

    December 25, 2012 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  18. Xavier

    Republicans and the NRA are loosing the public relations fight after the tragedy that took the lives of over 20 children. For them to use this as an issue to go after David Gregory not only makes them look little, but it also illustrates just how desperate they are becoming.

    December 26, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  19. dreamer96

    Some of these banned gun items, like 30 round clips, are only banned for new sales....If you already owned one you can still keep it....So how is the current law written in regards to this case....Does it really ban the ownership today of any 30 round clip,..or just the new sales of these 30 round clips...are the existing owners Grandfathered into the ban....hmmm...Did he borrow that 30 round clip from the local police just to show the public....TV Shows bring on exotic animals from the local Zoo all the time to show the public..but they news staff does not own the baby Lion or Tiger...

    December 26, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  20. Mark Ramsey MD

    Amazing! 26 people dead, a moderator questioning the NRA leader Wayne LaPierre using an example clip for clarity, and the moderator is the one who may be in trouble. How about we charge Wayne LaPierre with 26 counts of murder for leading the charge to keep these clips legal?

    December 26, 2012 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  21. Garrett

    Of course he wasn't going to mises that magazine, but that's the whole point! Millions of gun owners already possess such magazines and also do not misuse them. However, under a proposed federal ban that would not matter. Under DC's existing ban, there are no exemptions for why you have it. He broke the law, he's a felony and should be prosecuted just like anyone else.

    FYI, under the previous ban and under DC's existing ban that is a "high capacity" (really is standard capacity, but propaganda notwithstanding) magazine PERIOD. Even if it is non-functional (no spring/follower, but we can clearly see the body and floor plate), it's still illegal under DC's law. The only way for that not to be illegal is to physically cut the mag body in half so as to destroy it. Prop or not, it's illegal. Intent to use for "bad" purposes or not, it's illegal. DC regulates mere possession, he was in possession.

    This should shock more people as just how regulated and restricted guns already are. In many states mere possession is felony, like it is in DC for just a mag. It's utterly silly, but it is the law.

    December 26, 2012 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  22. Pete

    I think Mr.Gregory was doing this for shock value.It's easier sometimes this way to get a message across with their mostly dumb viewers than just speaking about it..And yes he's right in eliminating expanded clips because then they limit the carnal as he spoke of something the NRA won't speak about being the largest lobbyists for gun manufactures this country has...I'm a concealed permit holder and gun owner and military type guns that are made for sale to the general public should be stopped..If you're waiting for the end of the world in your bunker than you can get them with proper licencing but for the general public it should be hands off,plain and simple with psychological testing for those applying also just to weed out the nuts before this happens again...It has to stop and it won't until more strengent laws are made...

    December 26, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |

    Can we ban anger and hostility? I'm sure if we give up enough of our rights we can... right libs??

    December 26, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  24. Anonymous

    he is in violation of most state gun laws. In Mass. you can get 1 year in jail for being in possession of a spent cartridge.
    the law covers guns, clips and ammo.

    December 26, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |

    After 9/11 everyone freaked out and allowed americans to give up our privacy rights for "security"... now after the shootings in CT americans will yet again give up more rights for "security". This country is a goner.

    December 26, 2012 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
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