David Gregory has managed to ignite a smaller gun controversy following a Meet The Press segment during which he showed a high-capacity ammunition clip on air — which in and of itself is kind of an encapsulation of the issues gun culture presents in the US at the moment.
To recap, David Gregory was interviewing NRA chief Wayne LaPierre in the midst of the fallout from the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting that left 27 dead, 20 of whom were children. In engaging the NRA about the use and legality of high-capacity clips, David Gregory handled one on camera.
Slate quotes the law of which Gregory may have run afoul:
“No person in the District [of Columbia] 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.”
Controversy erupted when it was revealed that Gregory’s use of the clip as a prop of sorts was technically prohibited by law — and gun rights advocates seized upon the apparent violation of Washington, D.C., laws as a … well, it’s not quite clear, exactly.
The aforementioned site suggested that distraction was at play as a means to halt the current national dialogue, and it is difficult to tease out any other explanation besides viewers displeased at Gregory’s stance wanting him to suffer for it.
— RB (@RBPundit) December 26, 2012
— Resist Tyranny (@ResistTyranny) December 26, 2012
However, TMZ followed up with an unnamed source, who says that while one story says Gregory was “denied permission” to show the clip, someone from the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said otherwise. The blog explains:
“Well-placed law enforcement sources tell TMZ … a staffer from “Meet the Press” called ATF before the show aired to inquire about the legality of David holding the empty magazine during a segment on gun control. We’re told the ATF person contacted the D.C. police to find out if the District of Columbia — the place where the show is broadcast — had a law prohibiting such a display.”
“Our sources say the D.C. police official informed ATF David could legally show the magazine, provided it was empty. An ATF official then called the staffer from Meet the Press to inform them they could use the magazine.”
David Gregory’s use of the high-capacity clip is still reportedly under investigation after the show aired Sunday.