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. Smacky Smooth

    Well, nice to know they are willing to go after the "true" danger...this is why our children are being lined up for the slaughter at the alter of the almighty dollar. Although it is nice to see that the spirit of spite still exists in the DCPD, "hey guys, Inspector Cluseau called.....(you fill in the rest).."

    December 26, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |

    Not the smartest move, on Gregory's part, and even tho' I strongly oppose his views, I think it is a waste of time for the Police to pursue this silly issue.

    December 26, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  3. Bill Brown

    Bust him! The law is the law!

    December 26, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  4. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Wow. That looks exactly like the plastic one that comes with a battery powered water gun shaped to look like an M-60 that I own.

    December 26, 2012 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  5. Pat in IL

    How much smaller can the far right and NRA people get!?!?! This is one of the biggest wastes of time I've seen in a long time, and there are better things to put their time and talents to.

    December 26, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  6. Paul Cooper

    I'm sure it was unintentional, but Mr. Gregory just showed why simply banning certain items doesn't work. Criminals simply ignore those bans, as did Mr. Gregory. He should face the full weight of the law here.

    December 26, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  7. Mike

    This is a waste of tax payer money and police time. This magazine is being used in an debate about gun control, not for personal use. Absolutely ridiculous! How about having our investigators working on cases that truly matter!

    December 26, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  8. Charlie

    So you want to crack down on gun control. How about just start enforcing current gun laws. Here is your first chance to show you are going to crack down on gun laws no matter who you are. David Gregory chose to brake the law to try and prove a point when it is illegal in the District of Columbia to have possession of this no matter if it is attached to a rifle or not. So prosecute him. You see most gun owners and CCH holders are law abiding citizens and know the laws and when and where they can possess or carry their fire arms. Ignorance of the law is not a defense. Prosecute him.

    December 26, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  9. Puddin

    I was not aware of this law, so I doubt David Gregory was either. I don't see what the big deal is to his making a point with the object in his hand. The cops should go chase some real crooks and quit sweating the small stuff..

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

    DC High Capacity Ammunition Magazines – D.C. Official Code 7-2506.01

    (b) No person in the District shall possess, sell, or transfer any large capacity ammunition feeding device regardless of whether the device is attached to a firearm. For the purposes of this subsection, the term large capacity ammunition feeding device means a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device that has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition. The term large capacity ammunition feeding device shall not include an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.

    Notice section b prohibits mere possession. Section b later also defines it to be an illegal mag that can be readily restored to hold more than 10 rounds. The BATFEs long standing position (from circa 1994 AWB) is that the mag body can be readily converted back and thus only physical destruction of the mag body legally renders the mag unconvertible. Even if that was a prop and had been altered to accept 10 rounds or less (including zero), the mag body still qualifies as illegal under DC law.

    Gun owners, with no ill intent, have been consistently prosecuted under such technicalities; which makes them a felon and no longer able to possess any firearm or vote, etc. The number of existing laws and trivial technicalities that every gun owner must know is mind boggling.

    December 26, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  11. maine liberal

    That is Ironic. an interview with the NRA that advocates all things Gun and the interviewer is investigated

    December 26, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  12. jimmykl

    In the 90's Dan Rather got away with altering a legal semi-auto rifle to an illegal full auto on national tv got away with it, news people are exempt from thee law.

    December 26, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  13. mariano

    Now Gregory will find out first hand the utter stupidity of these laws in certain states....

    December 26, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  14. Dawn

    Now this makes sense. We don't want to discuss ways to keep these high capacity clips out of the hands of the non-military citizens. We don't want to discuss ways to prevent mass killings by unstable people. We don't want to discuss whether semi-automatic weapons should be sold at gun shows and/or are available to non-military citizens. We don't want to discuss limiting and making it illegal for all non-military citizens. But we should enforce the DC law and put David Gregory in jail, as he dares to discuss it with the NRA. The irony of it all.

    December 26, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  15. Timothy

    More testimony to the monumental stupidity of the system. In that mans hand is a bent piece of metal. it contains no follower, no spring and no base plate. Here's a clue DC PD, Invest some effort in controlling the illicit trade and posession of firearms. Here is a clue Congress, Invest some of our hard earned tax dollars authoring legislation that grants reasonable power of disclosure to mental health workers. The current system, by the book, says that even if a person informs mental health workers he is going to commit crime, he has an absolute expectation of privacy. There have been far to many cases where, had the mental health worker informed authorities that a patient had threatened to do harm, the person could have been stopped. The issue here is simple. A person willing to trade his/her life to take the lives of others is virtually unstoppable. I suppose next we will try to ban cars, those can be driven into a crowd. As for the issue in this article. Any reasonable person can practice magazine change and carry 10 of them as opposed to one big one, Its not the point.

    December 26, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  16. Rina

    Yeah, right, go after him because the D.C. police can't find any other murderers, rapists, etc. to go after. You gun people are pathetic. Nobody said anything about taking away ALL guns – just the assault rifles that kill 20 or more at a time. There is no reason WHATSOEVER to own one of these when you are a civilian. Ban them – protect all the rest of us who have to risk our lives to go to the movie theatre or school.

    December 26, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  17. Basher

    Funny, it took "conservative commentators" to bring this potential violation of the law to the fore.

    December 26, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  18. Anonymous

    "Several conservative commentators first raised the issue of whether Gregory had broken D.C. law by using the magazine."

    Silly, silly conservatives. Gun magazines don't kill. Gun magazines are an inanimate object. Great that y'all found someone to finally blame for mass murder though. David Gregory of all people. Tsk. Tsk.

    December 26, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  19. Davey

    This story cracked me up. If he broke the law and does NOT get arrested, well then it just enforces the NRA's position on more gun control laws that are not being enforced now. LOL. He should be arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. LOL Made my day Davey.....

    December 26, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  20. Wilson

    Shame on President Obama for seeking more gun control and for trying to prevent the parents of other school children from doing what he has clearly done for his own. His children sit under the protection guns afford, while the children of regular Americans are sacrificed.
    The larger point is that this is standard operating procedure for the school, period. And this is the reason people like NBC's David Gregory send their kids to Sidwell, they know their kids will be protected from the carnage that befell kids at a school where armed guards weren't used (and weren't even allowed).

    December 26, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  21. Garrett

    The irony here is that the gun control crowd wants to impose a federal ban similar to the existing DC ban, but thinks it silly or a waste of time to enforce the current DC ban. Of course, I'm sure that if a gun owner accidentally left such a magazine under their seat from a lawful range trip in another state, and then entered DC there would be no such leniency.

    December 26, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  22. DMG2FUN

    Lock his butt up! People pushing gun control laws violate the law all of the time.

    December 26, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  23. Davey

    Just like the NRA said, gun control laws only effect law abiding folks. Outlaw guns and only outlaws will have Davey. I could go on and on, but I will let you liberals bash on. LOL

    December 26, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  24. light

    its time to wake up

    December 26, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  25. The Realist

    It's obvious to Anyone, with even Rudimentary firearms knowledge, that it's Not a 30 round clip!

    If manufactured for .223 ammunition, that clip could hold 12 or 15 rounds at the very most.

    A 30 round magazine is twice as long as that, with a large curve, hence the name "banana clip".

    There's no excuse for that blunder. The NBC Fact Checker should lose their job, or at least be demoted.

    December 26, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
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