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Laws, little people and the public interest: The David Gregory magazine story continues to unfold

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By Doug Powers  •  December 27, 2012 01:26 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

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Image from William Jacobson via Doug Ross

The David Gregory ammo magazine saga continues. Where does it stand now? From the sound of things, NBC kept asking for permission for Gregory to wave the magazines around on the air until somebody said “yes,” but that still didn’t mean it would be legal:

Washington police are investigating whether NBC’s David Gregory broke the law by holding up what appeared to be a 30-round gun magazine on Sunday’s Meet the Press after the network apparently got conflicting opinions about whether it would be legal for him to do so.

It is illegal in the district to possess a “large capacity ammunition feeding device.”

Gwendolyn Crump, director of the Office of Communications for the Washington Metropolitan Police Department, told ABC News, “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.”

But ABC News has learned from an official at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives that NBC had reached out to the federal agency on Friday for advice before displaying the weaponry.

According to the ATF official, the agency noted that ATF doesn’t enforce D.C. gun laws, but agreed to put the question to a couple of Washington police officers who’ve worked with the agency in the past.

The D.C. officers advised the ATF spokesman that Gregory could display the magazine, provided it was empty, the source said.

That turned out to be bad advice, as conservative media and gun rights activists were first to note. The ATF official describes this as a “misunderstanding,” and says he hopes DC police will not bring charges.

RS McCain is shocked — shocked — that the ATF might have given Gregory faulty counsel:

What? The ATF abetting violation of gun laws?

I’m just shocked by this allegation that the federal agency which helped arm Mexican drug gangs would approve such a clearly illegal scheme.

Is David Gregory really on vacation? Or is he a fugitive from justice?

Even though NBC’s saying Gregory is on vacation this coming Sunday, I’m hoping he’ll still have time for a quick segment — possibly live from the back of a white Ford Bronco being driven by Piers Morgan while racing from DC to the mayor’s residence in New York City to seek hypocrisy asylum from Michael Bloomberg.

Gregory has his media defenders, at least one of which says the host was acting in the “public interest.” Just what we need — laws enforced based on somebody’s opinion of what constitutes public interest. I believe it was John Adams who said that America is “a nation of laws, not of men — unless certain men decide a law was broken in the public interest… then it’s okay.”

We still don’t know where Gregory obtained the magazine(s) he waved around while telling the NRA VP that armed guards in schools aren’t necessarily the answer. It’s possible that Gregory borrowed them from one of the armed guards at his kids’ school. Which brings us to more double standards

Update: NRA President David Keene was asked if Gregory should be prosecuted:

“No, I don’t think so,” Keene said in the interview Thursday on CNN when asked whether Gregory should be prosecuted. “There are two lessons for him there. One, don’t ask the government what’s legal and what isn’t legal because half the people you ask don’t know. And secondly, that’s a silly felony. It’s a felony in Washington, D.C., to own that magazine or to be caught with a cartridge. So I really think what David Gregory did, while he was inadvertently flouting the law, was illustrated in a very graphic way, perhaps not intentionally, but in a graphic way just how silly some of these laws are.”

Update II: While we’re at it, let’s put Rahm Emanuel’s name on that “double standards” list. Unless he just isn’t aware that there are armed security guards at his kids’ school. If that’s the case, somebody please inform him so he can get down there right away and put a stop to it. No, wait… tell Rahm somebody opened a Chick-fil-A in the school — it’ll get him to move on it faster.

**Written by Doug Powers

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