David Gregory Gun Clip Matter In Prosecutor’s Hands

The Washington D.C. Police Department has completed their investigation of the incident on MEET THE PRESS, where host David Gregory displayed what was largely believed by many to be an illegal gun clip capable of holding up to 30 bullets that fits an assault type weapon. The matter is now in the hands of a Washington D.C. Attorney General to make a decision whether to press for charges based on police evidence.

Apparently, NBC had asked the D.C. Department for permission to use a high capacity gun clip for display purposes, but permission was reportedly denied. But, another story is that NBC asked permission from the Federal Government’s Bureau Of Alcohol, Tobacco And Firearms, the ATF, and this federal agency told NBC that it was acceptable to use a gun clip of this type for an illustration on national network TV. So lawyers for NBC might have some legal grounds to claim that federal law regulating firearms has precedence over any local ordinance regulating firearms. NBC likely sought some legal advice before the gun clip was used. But, that doesn’t mean that some legal error might have also been made here.

Whether the local prosecutor in D.C. decides to move ahead and file charges is not yet known. The next few days will likely tell the tale what happens next. But, there’s probably more than a few people who really want prosecutors to look at prosecuting real crimes that actually harm people, and not to look journalists who only play the “Devil’s Advocate” and promote a national debate for news purposes.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
  • It would be really handy of someone would produce a definitive guide that outlined which people are above the law, and which specific laws do not apply them.

    For instance, if while doing an interview on public obscenity laws a journalist chose to drop his pants and rub one out on national TV just to play Devil’s Advocate would that be OK?

    It’s so confusing to try to figure out which laws apply to which people. Maybe we should evolve a standard in which all of the laws apply to all of the people. We could call it something solemn and serious sounding like “The Rule of Law.”

    • No, actually there’s a large burden of proof on D.C. First of all, are local governments actually allowed to write laws that clearly exceed both federal laws as well as limit provisions of the federal Bill Of Rights. What if a local government decides to ban guns altogether, in the face of the federal constitution? D.C. would have a difficult time defending any local law that limits federal freedoms unless the Supreme Court actually rules that local communities are allowed to do, which is a highly suspect concept. Speaking of obscenity, a controversial 1973 Supreme Court ruling somehow allowed local communities to set their own standards on free expression and free speech, which seems like an absurd ruling given that most publication, books, movies, etc aren’t locally published, but nationally or internationally produced and distributed.

      D.C. also has one more burden of proof. The police don’t have what may or may not have a gun clip in their possession. D.C. would need a warrant for the object, but police have no idea where the object is in order to seize it as evidence. And NBC can’t be forced to produce evidence that might incriminate the company or journalist David Gregory. With 3D printers, an object made out of plastic can look a lot like a gun clip, but be completely a nonfunctional dummy. NBC could produce something like that, and then D.C. would have no case. NBC and David Gregory have been saying as little as possible here on this matter to keep their legal options open here.

      Likely nothing happens here. No prosecution. And that’s a good thing for gun rights and gun owners. The worst thing that those that support gun rights want here is for NBC or David Gregory to face prosecution, and then to take this case all the way to the Supreme Court on appeal, and then the high court rules that local communities may completely ban guns or gun parts and the 2nd Amendment is virtually gutted. The Supreme Court doesn’t always follow the rule of law, if it did, then being a liberal or a conservative on the court wouldn’t matter, and the legal outcome should always be the same, regardless of which justice is hearing the case. Justices on the court seem to vote their own opinions way too often, where the rule of law is often on the backburner.

      • For burden of proof, they have a nice video of Gregory holding what he stated was a 30 round magazine for a semi-automatic rifle. All they need to establish is that the segment was filmed in D.C. And there are witnesses to that.

        NBC could produce a fake and hand that to DC police but that would mean either that they are willing to perjure themselves to cover up the crime, or they actually used a fake in the broadcast in which case instead of crime it’s just a lack of personal and journalistic ethics.

        • The legal problem here remains that no actual crime was actually committed in the presense of a police officer. Most of the 105 persons charged with violating this law have had evidence that was visible to police, such as being a felon in possession of illegal weapons, a traffic stop, attempting to transport weapons through an airport, etc. In some cases, judges have thrown out the charges, such as one case in which a man was legally transporting some guns through Washington D.C. heading to another destination, and the guns and parts were not intended to be left in D.C. The local law might give local police another tool to stop suspected felons and others suspected of crimes, and might be intended to make lawmakers more safe in the city, but judges don’t seem willing to apply the law to all persons if a reasonable excuse exists, partly because the law may not really be constitutional to begin with. D.C. no doubt has other laws on the books that might be of questionable legality or constitution standards, but these laws might be because they enhance the security for government agencies in the city, and are mostly only applied in cases where some felon or other dangerous person might be in possession of weapons illegally. Likely, David Gregory or NBC is never even charged here. The city would likely risk having the law thrown out if it went to court and was appealed. Gregory wasn’t even questioned by police here, yet. The city probably doesn’t want to risk having this law struck down in the courts by challenging some rich and powerful entity like NBC, which is willing to spend far more to fight or appeal some charge than whatever some small fine might be, just to keep a clear name for their journalists, of which Gregory would have to register as a firearms offender in the city.

          • So if a crime isn’t committed in the presence of a cop it isn’t a crime?

            I’ll have to remember that tip.

            “The city probably doesn’t want to risk having this law struck down in the courts by challenging some rich and powerful entity like NBC”

            But the irony of NBC’s anti-gun advocacy resulting in a gun law being overturned would be so delightful.

            Instead, Gregory will get a pass for an offense that would land and average citizen in jail so that DC can protect it’s unconstitutional law.

            With liberty and justice for all.

            Or Gregory lied and the magazine was a fake all along.