NBC requested permission from D.C. police to display a high-capacity gun magazine for a Sunday news show and was denied, but ‘Meet the Press’ host David Gregory used the prop anyway.
The Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, which is investigating the matter, claims NBC was told in advance that the prop was ‘not permissible.’
‘NBC contacted (the Metropolitan Police Department) inquiring if they could utilize a high capacity magazine for their segment,’ police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said in a written statement. ‘NBC was informed that possession of a high capacity magazine is not permissible and their request was denied. This matter is currently being investigated.
‘Repeat offender’: Gregory brandished the 30-bullet magazine a second time, and then held up a smaller clip carrying 10 rounds while making a point about the need to tighten gun laws
D.C. city laws prohibit the possession of high-capacity magazines. Police are trying to determine if the magazine was ‘real,’ D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier told Breitbart News.
Gregory displayed the magazine during an interview with National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre.
During the segment, which was dedicated to the gun control debate sparked by the deadly school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, Gregory pressed LaPierre to admit that outlawing high-capacity magazines might help reduce loss of lives in mass shootings.
Brandishing what appeared to be a gun clip that carries 30 rounds, the TV presenter asked if the head of the NRA would support reducing the limit on magazine clips to carrying five to 10 bullets.
‘I don’t believe that’s going to make one difference,’ LaPierre said in response.
During the heated exchange, Gregory insisted that reducing the number of rounds in a clip is a ‘matter of logic,’ and to make his point, he pulled out another, smaller magazine that carries 10 bullets.
‘And you’re telling me that it’s not a matter of common sense that if you don’t have an ability to shoot off 30 rounds without reloading, that, just possibly, you could reduce the loss of life?’ he asked.
LaPierre dismissed Gregory’s argument, saying that there are so many way that the alleged Newtown shooter Adam Lanza could have carried out the massacre which has left 20 children and six adults dead without using a high-capacity magazine.
Just hours after the show aired, some critics took to Twitter accusing Gregory of violating the gun bylaws of Washington DC, where the show is being taped, by waving a high-capacity clip on television.
‘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.’
The conservative blog The Patriot Perspective cited a law passed by the district’s Legislation banning the possession, sale or transfer of a magazine that has a capacity of more than 10 bullets.
Those who are found guilty of violating the gun bylaws could face up to $1,000 fine or a year in jail.
As Legal Insurrection writer and Cornell Law School associate professor William Jacobson pointed out in a blog post shortly after Meet the Press aired, Gregory’s possession of an actual clip may have broken the local laws, unless the clip was a fake, The Daily Caller reported.
Jacobson later clarified that the only people who are allowed to be in possession of magazines carrying more than 10 rounds include licensed dealers, federal or District of Columbia law enforcement officers, or certified ammunition collectors, none of which appears to apply to Gregory.
Commenters on Twitter wasted no time going on the offensive against the NBC presenters.
One user wrote: ‘Nice to know @davidgregory committed a crime on national TV and nobody cares.’
Another user with the Twitter handle ‘Mr Hyde’ posted a link to a petition to bring formal charges against Gregory for allegedly violating Washington DC gun laws on national TV.
NBC representatives were not immediately available to comment on the allegations against Mr Gregory.