WASHINGTON – An investigation into an incident on NBC’s Meet the Press that may have violated D.C. gun laws appears to have been complicated by a misunderstanding.
On Sunday’s show, David Gregory held up what appeared to be a 30-round gun magazine during his interview with Wayne LaPierre, head of the National Rifle Association.
“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?” asked Gregory with the ammunition clip in his hand. “That Adam Lanza may not have been able to shoot as many kids if he didn’t have as much ammunition?”
The issue is with the ammunition clip. An official with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, who wished to remain anonymous, said the confusion surrounding the incident is the result of a misunderstanding.
The official said he took a phone call on Friday from someone at NBC who wanted to know about showing ammunition and a gun magazine on the show. Since the ATF bureau does not enforce city law, the official contacted D.C. police, who told the official that NBC could not show ammunition but could show the magazine.
The official relayed the message back to NBC and Gregory only showed the gun magazine on Sunday’s show.
Police are still referring to their statement on the matter, released by Araz Alali with the Metropolitan Police Department.
“NBC contacted MPD inquiring if they could utilize a high capacity magazine for their segment. NBC was informed that possession of a high capacity magazine is not permissible and their request was denied. This matter is currently being investigated.”
A city code outlawing the possession of a large-capacity ammunition device states that it does not matter if such a device is attached to a firearm. From the 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.
TMZ was first to report on the possible miscommunication.
Watch the “Meet the Press” clip below. David Gregory shows the magazine for ammunition at 9:45 minutes: