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. Phil Odi

    The gun laws are so deformed to be reformed.

    December 26, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  2. A Conscientious objector

    In no way do I support what Adam Lanza(or a mysterious secon shooter who was allowed to leave the scene admitting that "he didn't do it", Had he even been asked about what happened, before admitting to something? What's the diffrernce between the military having a 30 round magaizne a sensible cvilian that served in the military or no military or a killer? They all have the potential to damage when attached to a semi automatic weapon. If America starts dis-arming their citizens what happens next? Another war, but this time on the homefront.

    December 26, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  3. Garrett

    @Serge Crespy

    You're making stuff up based on how you think the law is rather than how it actually is. No intent is required. No ammo is required (that's an additional charge). Mere possession of a mag, where a mag is literally defined by the law as anything can be reconverted into a magazine holding more than 10 rounds, is illegal. Generally, the only acceptable way to destroy such a mag so that it could not be reconverted was to cutup the mag body, which he clearly had not done. Even if he has done it now or removed it from DC, he still committed the crime. This is not unlike the ATF prosecuting people for having tubes and washer around which could be made into a suppressor. They don't have to show intent, just ability. Yes, it is absurd, but these are the laws legal guns owners have been dealing with for decades.

    December 26, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Larry L wrote:

    "If a bully brings a baseball bat to school, and uses it to terrorize the other kids, what is the solution?

    1. Take away the bully's bat?
    2. Give a bat to all of the teachers?
    3. Hire a security guard and give him a bat?
    4. Build bigger bats and give one to everyone?"

    Rudy your analogy is somewhat rough but your point is well-taken – the problem is multifaceted and requires intelligent dialogue. That appears to be something the N.R.A. is incapable of providing. Nothing can solve the entire problem and it will take all of our ingenuity and diplomacy to find a reasonable approach.
    Rough? Maybe. All I did was change an assault rifle into a baseball bat. In that context, the solution to preventing future incidents seems pretty clear cut. Unfortunately, some people believe that the right to carry a baseball bat means you have the right to have the biggest baseball bat ever made.

    December 26, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  5. judy

    same old argument What are 30 or more shots for Target practice.???

    December 26, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  6. sifto

    and why do you liberals think gregory should be allowed to break the law and given a pass? the biggest problem with guns is not prosecuting criminals enough–not preying on legal guns...

    December 26, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  7. Tony in Maine

    While Gregory should have known better, I'm betting it'll be some assistant producer trainee who brought the thing in. Because he didn't lob softball questions to HRH Wayne of LaPierre meand the NRA will have their dittoheads in full shriek demanding Gregory's head on a pike.

    December 26, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  8. Steve

    Ridiculous. Technically he may have broken the law but better that the police to spend their time prosecuting those who are using such magazines than those trying to make a point about their use in the absence of an actual weapon.

    December 26, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  9. gina

    ARE YOU SERIOUS? He was only responding in lieu of the horrific incidents that continue to perpetuate the media...

    December 26, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  10. guy

    what a crazy thing to spend time on. he was using it to educate us – don't the police in DC have better things to do? and don't conservative commentators have something better to report on?

    December 26, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  11. Blue

    That segment was filmed in a sister station studio in Pennsylvania.

    December 26, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  12. it must be said

    Yes, it was obviously the Founding Fathers intention that the populace be totally disarmed while allowing an armed and regulated militia, manned by the citizens, that were totally unarmed and unaware of how to shoot a weapon since they would have none in their possession. And of course, there were no dangers out on the frontier, or wild animals to be concerned with, and yes, there were even criminals and armed robbers back in the good old day of our founding.

    Do you liberals even begin to understand how absolutely adsurd your arguments against the 2nd Amendment sound???
    Just because the federal government decied to create a full time, paid army does not mean that the citizens relinqushed their Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.

    And really, the discussion about firearms is totally bogus. Law abiding gun owners are NOT the cause of the violence in this country. Let's start the discusssion with the mentally ill roaming freely to kill people (or throw them onto train tracks to be killed), then talke about the endless mental conditioning for killing, violence and death our young kids get from video games, TV, movies, music, etc. THOSE are the real problems. Not the law abiding gun owners of this country (100 million people!!)

    December 26, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  13. Thomas

    Why do non military or non law enforcement need assault weapons ?

    December 26, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  14. Sue

    GatorDude – you've got some serious issues with your line of thinking. Perhaps you should consult Webster's again for the definition of "tyrannical" before you describe our government as such, or better yet, go reside in a country that is actually ruled by tyranny!

    December 26, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  15. mike hunt

    "So here’s a magazine for ammunition that carries 30 bullets. 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 people will buy and carry 3 magazines rather than one?"

    December 26, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  16. Steve D.

    We have such incredible ignorance, it amazes me. Matt referred to war as a form of life. He was serious. He insists that ordinary citizens need weapons comparable to those used by foreign armies, ignoring that our amry (the actual militia) has such weapons.

    Red insists Someone (Jesus?) told his apostles to make sure they had swords. Unless you're a complete moron you can easily understand the verse (Luke 22: 35-38) as rebuking the sword. Jesus says his apostles will need to take swords (and cloaks, and purses) because they will leave the life he wanted for them and become more like the criminals and the crowd. He is predicting their fall, not instructing them in how to behave.

    I could go on for pages and pages. People who can't understand the constitution, misread the bible, distort history, confuse the law but are absolutely sure they know we all have a right to own any gun we can afford because that's what the founding father's intended. Many of them want to elevate and exalt the 2nd ammendment (or their version of it) but would willingly restrict any other rights (religion, speech, association, privacy, voting) in order to keep those guns sacred above all else. They belive ever manner of inane rumor and cultish myth about Un armies and secret indoctrination camps as part of the justification for their gun lust.

    We are exactly the nation we deserve to be, bloated with ignorance and wallowing in our own violent filth.

    December 26, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  17. Rudy NYC


    "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state"

    Yes, a well regulated militia, meaning adaptable to the society we live in.
    You twist the meaning. The amendment had more to do with having a well trained army on hand for national defense, than guaranteeing everyone the right to own an assault rifle. You have to remember, there was no standing US military at the time, of the writing. At least not what we might think of today as our US military, orgainzed into different branches, each with its' own academic school of higher learning turning out officers. There were not exactly organized local police forces, either.

    Most people on the right tend to interpret "well-regulated" to mean "well-trained". In today's world we have a "well regulated militia", one which bears arms. IN fact, we have multiple militias specializing in various disciplines, none of which could be considered independent vigilante groups or rogues operating for their own self interests. The Preamble to the Consitution makes the intent of the 2nd Amendment abundantly clear. The intent is to protect the general welfare of the country, as a WHOLE.

    December 26, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  18. roblearns

    The theory is if you have 1 magazine with 30 bullets = carnage. But 3 guns with 10 bullets each = no carnage.

    The theory is kind of ludicrous. The problem is that people are planning mass murder/suicides – and while I'll grant you that a total ban on all guns – hand guns, hunting rifles, shot guns – a total ban does make it sufficiently difficult for the would-be mass murderer to plan a gun attack, that he probably switches to something else like chemical or explosives.

    But in the absence of a total ban – the ban on large magazines that hold 30 bullets, isn't going to do a whole lot, because the would be mass murderer can simply stock up on multiple magazines/multiple guns – and a host of other workarounds that anyone besides an NBC reporter can easily understand.

    December 26, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  19. Thomas

    Typical conservative response. Let assault rifles be used by madmen to take out innocent victims. Yet a reporter displays a magazine unattached to an assault weapon in a discussion on firearms and the aftermath of the Newton tragedy and it becomes the biggest crime in the world. I used to be a staunch Republican and supporter of the NRA. But both have become so unreasonable and foolhardy that I find it embarrassing to admit. I am now an independent. It is hard to find anyone on either side of the aisle, Democrat or Republican without a political ax to grind.

    December 26, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  20. ramble3144

    I don't know. Do you think Gregory looks like the terrorist type?

    December 26, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  21. Milagros

    It's too difficult to fix the mental illness issues that are the root cause of these mass murders so we focus in on the weapon. A world where only the bad guys have powerful, high rate of fire guns, would not be safe. We saw that in the LA Bank robbery where Police were outgunned by felons in body armor using powerful weapons. Until we can better manage the mental illness issue, we need to rely on a strong deterrent. Good folks need to be armed.

    December 26, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  22. roblearns

    @Rudy NYC, your analogy is somewhat off, because you are forgetting that banning assault rifles is all that seems to be up for discussion.

    So is the solution to remove from the bully, the 35" assault baseball bat, but let him keep the 33" regulation baseball bat.

    Any gun that can kill a deer can kill a human. Score any victory you need to over the NRA – its no concern of mine.
    But then wake up and realize, that you certainly haven't prevented the next crime. Just saying that this person used assault weapons – ignoring the fact that what the person actually did was plan a mass murder.

    In the absence of the 'assault' weapon, he plans the same mass murder with a similar gun – that doesn't carry the label 'assault' but nevertheless will kill just the same.

    That's the problem – in the absence of banning all baseball bats, just banning one type of bat, is not going to do much.

    December 26, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  23. Danny

    Oh Good, lets go after reporters, while the freaks who actually kill people get no attention at all until it's to late. Great government at work as usual...

    December 26, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  24. Gary

    Can anyone tell me the last person shot with an illegal gun? No, they have all been legal for ever since I can remember. Better go back some years. The NRA will always toss you that you need it for protection and it’s your right. There are a lot of individuals who live here in a American besides gun nuts. Guns do kill people. We have too many guns and many people who should never be around them. You do not need high capacity magazines. You do not need assault weapons or hunting rifles that look like M-16s. We need to go back to the Brady Bill which gives a 5 day period to do a thorough back ground check. The check needs people registered if seeing a doctor for any neurological disorder. There is a balance, but neither the NRA, gun nuts or Fuax News will give. So they must be pushed and that’s coming. Coming soon.
    By the way, I am bi-polor. I went to buy a gun at a gun store here in TX. I filled out the form for a Glock 40 in 2005. It took all of 20 minutes to clear “their” background check. I walked out the door with a semi-auto Glock 40 with 4 extra magazines holding 13 rounds each and a laser light attachment. Remember, I’m bi-polor. Just think about it.

    December 26, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  25. Heath

    So conservatives are concerned about a reporter holding an empty cartridge but aren't concerned about people using them? I'd call this the height of insincerity had the gun lobby not already achieved that many times over.

    December 26, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
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