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. jon

    Gun owners need to lock up their guns in a safe in their homes, period! Most gun owners do not commit crimes with their guns and are responsible like hunters, sportsman, and used for home protection. The problem is those guns get stolen very easily by thieves, robbers, drug dealers, gangs, and murderers. They also need to be locked up from family members that get a hold of them like children, teenagers, due to suicide and accidental or intentional homicides in the home! The law should state that any gun owners gun that gets stolen and used in a crime should be prosecuted as an accessory unless they can prove they had it locked up in a safe and the gun theft was reported immediately. We cannot prevent all tragedies and death but we can significantly improve it with common sense prevention.

    December 26, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  2. Walker

    So if magazine size makes no difference, let's save a LOT of tax dollars and give our military cheaper, lighter bolt-action rifles or a colt 45 and see how far they get. I AGREE with an earlier post that the NRA is in the same league as the KKK and should be called to task, disbanded, and fined until their treasury reaches ZERO. There is nothing free about a country that allows whacked terrorists in suits to legally hold peace loving people hostage.

    December 26, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  3. ET

    I am exhausted from gun-toting NRA extremists living in fairy tale world pretending guns aren't part of the problem. It's literally absurd. It's as though, according to them, guns weren't even involved. They say things like, "guns don't kill people." (Except anyone with a brain who understands FACTS knows that is egregiously incorrect.) Guns ARE part of the problem, they DO hurt people, and something needs to be DONE about it to STOP this!

    December 26, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  4. Saboth instead of going after guys killing people with assault rifles, police priority is a tv actor/newscaster with what may or may not be a prop. I feel safer already.

    December 26, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  5. GatorDude

    heliocracy – Because that is the way jurisprudence and incremental government work. First, you get "the camel's nose under the tent" and then the camel joins you in the tent. Each gun law that is legally upheld sets a precedent for more increasingly strict gun laws. Each gun law lays the ground law for further restrictions. The "assault weapons ban" primarily addresses cosmetic features of a firearm: pistol-style grip, bayonet lug, flash suppressor, and high capacity magazine. There are plenty of non-assault weapons that have high capacity magazines. The pistol-grip and bayonet lug are pretty much cosmetic. However, if you set the precedent, then restrictions on additional guns such as .22 caliber rifles for plinking cans is just a stone's throw away.

    Finally, as Americans, we have the right to keep and bear arms in order to overthrow a tyrannical government that doesn't listen to the people. That means we need the right to military-style weapons for common citizens. That doesn't mean every 22-year old idiot in the country should exercise that right. But, it's a right we retain as free people. Fortunately, the right to bear arms is largely theoretical because our government listens so well. For example, look at how they've responded to problems like illegal immigration, H1B abuse, outsourcing, taxation, the fiscal cliff, and even large-capacity sodas in NYC.

    December 26, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  6. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    This is no more than an "I gotcha moment" while the carnage continues. Police are to protect and serve and we need more of them to do so rather than sitting around watching a TV clip.

    December 26, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  7. Paul

    No such thing as 30 rd high capacity ar mags. The ar15 was designed around the 30 rounder, so it is in fact a standard capacity mag. 5,10, and 20's are limited capacity and 100 round drums can be considered hi cap. But any gunfighter knows drum mags are awful.

    Ban 30 rounders and people will just have 3 times as many 10 rounders.

    December 26, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  8. California Gary

    The NRA is right......everyone shoyuld be packing heat. It worked so well back in the days of the old West......everyone that strapped a six shooter to their hip felt perfectly safe in those days. I wonder why we ever got away from that? Could it be that the idea of a "civilized" society took hold? Man, what were we thinking? Every argument should be settled by who is the quicker one to draw or who is carrying the most firepower.

    December 26, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  9. Curious Fellow

    Do we really have to be so stupid. Showing an empty ammo clip to make a point can never be considered as an illegal act. If the same level of menatl chaos exists within the entire government then we as a nation are truly doomed.
    Wake up Americans, lets get back to being a worthwhile Nation and not a gang of fools.

    December 26, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  10. CB

    WTF WIlson? Parents send their children to Sidwell for the academic programs, not because they are under armed guards, and they pay over $32,000 a year for it. ALL President's children have secret service protection. There was an armed guard at Columbine, that really helped didn't it?

    December 26, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  11. Serge Crespy

    As silly as this may sound, a magazine for ammunition does "NOT" (in reality) become such, until the first bullet is stored within the case..... It is upon the first bullet being stored, that establishes its "intended" use. e.g.: The shell of a bomb remains just "a shell", until it is filled with explosive material.

    PS: Would / Does Piers Morgan endorse "The Pink Pistols Association"?

    December 26, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  12. Walker

    BTW, I am of the opinion that we should not adapt, but REPEAL the 2nd amendment altogether – OR at the very least – strike "in God we trust" from our currency and "under God" from our pledge. Anyone who is honest about the teachings of Jesus must admit that violence of any kind is in direct opposition to his teachings. The only logic more twisted than the NRA philosophy is the NRA philosophy adopted and defended by Christians. Gods/Guts/Guns is a statement devised by ignorant thugs to appeal to the dullest and most dangerous of religious hypocrites. Unfortunately, they are almost as plentiful as firearms in the USA.

    December 26, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  13. kbwizard

    Hmm gun laws at work. Just having a Mag without a gun to shoot it is against the law. AWESOME!! I hope this helps to show people the logic of the positions of anti-gun owners. Now a man who only crime was to try to disarm the general public by way of hype has himself run afoul of the law. Gun owners are reminded all the time that they must know the laws of where they are at at a given moment. I know I can not carry my gun in DC so I do not. I also do not go to DC for said same reason. I make it my business to know the laws in which state I am going got be carrying a firearm.

    If he broke the law then he must be brought to justice. Also anyone at NBC who helped to get the mag must be bought to justice as well. I love a good witch hunt, don't you?

    December 26, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  14. Tim

    Wow, to believe our founding fathers did not foresee the advancement of firearms is unimaginable. How many inventions did they come up with? Those men back then were a bit smarter then the ones in dc today.
    You cannot prevent every murder, every accident or suicide. Those things have been happening long before even the musket.
    Solution: hold people accountable long before these things happen. We live in a "if it feels good do it" society. You have to have boundaries but the libs what those to be theirs. Most often the opposite of God's boundaries.

    December 26, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  15. JA

    IIf the average citizen were caught with this they would be given no leniency and neither should the reporter. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse. If the media is so intent on passing these laws they should be made to be responsible to the ones already on the books. He should be arrested and prosecuted like anyone else would be.

    December 26, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  16. Ordinary Average American

    So, it's illegal to have these magazines in D.C.? Why do we protect the D.C. citizens, aka our illustrious non-leaders, but all the gun owners whine about violating their second amendment rights if we were to make possession of those multi-bullet magazines illegal everywhere else? There are way too many double standards going on in this country!

    December 26, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  17. Frank

    Sure, let's waste time going after things that don't actually matter to anyone's safety, like whether the magazine a reporter used as a prop, whether it was a dummy or not, was real. At least it's consistent with the knee-jerk idiocy by the TSA, making all the little old ladies flying from New Jersey to Florida start taking off their shoes because someone tried to light his shoe on fire in a plane once.

    December 26, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  18. Red

    @ What about when he told his apostles to make sure they had swords? I don't think those could be used for knitting.

    December 26, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  19. Lars

    It couldn't happen to a nicer guy- hilarious. Where I live we used trade those like my kids with leggo's. I have a lot of 30 round clips and am happy to have them now. In this environment, I will still be buying more in the private market. The reputable gun stores where I live are all sold out of AR style guns – Happy Holidays. Demonizing and threatening are spiking sales. As they say praise the LORD pass the bullets.

    December 26, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  20. PuzzledInPeoria

    Let's see, the District of Columbia has one of the highest murder rates in the U.S., and the police are wasting time investigating whether a reporter broke the law by showing an empty clip in an interview about...gun control?

    Sounds like a setup to me, to attack NBC or Mr. Gregory. And who could be behind such a setup?

    December 26, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  21. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Finally, as Americans, we have the right to keep and bear arms in order to overthrow a tyrannical government that doesn't listen to the people. That means we need the right to military-style weapons for common citizens"

    Frankly, my dear, I really don't care if you, me, or any other American ever again has the right to own military-style weapons. To date, we haven't proven ourselves capable of handling such an awesome responsibility. If reading all the comments from "common citizens" proves anything, it proves we as a society have a long way to go before we get to the gun ownership category necessary for ... well, for responsible gun ownership - military style or otherwise.

    December 26, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  22. chris casey

    he holds up a magazine to demonstrate his words, and now may be in trouble. there was no danger, he was just making a point. now if the d.c. police were that quick to find the illegal guns in their district, i might feel a little safer.

    December 26, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  23. Wyatt Earp

    More and more sheeple are waking up to their enslavement
    main stream media viewers are only in the hundreds of thousands
    while alternative media is in the water boys there
    the corporations have taken over ........and have said so openly, no longer their secret
    but the light is starting to shine on them.....unable to operate in the dark
    the mass arrests have started in the banker world ........and some just disappear like lead weights in a deep lake
    yes 2012 was the end of the bankers world only has to open ones eyes

    December 26, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  24. Lars

    Its his responsability to know the gun laws in his own state. I have a CHL in my state but I do not travel with a rifle, shotgun, or handgun into other states without knowing their laws. Nothing will happen to him. If he was a regular person like anyone else they would prosecute to the full extent of the law. Only criminals and law enforcement have guns there. Cellar dwellar reporters and politicians are above the law in that God forsaken place.

    December 26, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  25. Whit

    Well now PuzzledinPeoria, it tell me that you don't know what you are talking about. DC has the lowest murder rate in 2012 based on it size. Four years ago if you would have made that statement you would have been right. However, Flint, Memphis, Detroit, Chicago, NY, Newark, Oakland, Huston, and I could go on had more murders in the last three years than DC. So, get your fact together.

    December 26, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
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