NBC’s David Gregory is in hot water with the District of Columbia police department for violating a gun law that he enthusiastically supports.
In an abundance of caution, press reports carefully declare that he “apparently” or “possibly” violated the law, but Gregory’s own words make it clear that he violated D.C.’s law forbidding possession of a firearms magazine that holds 30 rounds, a magazine like the ones used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
And lest there be any question over whether Gregory and his NBC bosses knew that he was violating the law, the broadcast company sought, and was denied, advance permission from police to possess the high-capacity magazine on NBC’s “Meet the Press” show a couple of weeks ago.
Gregory went after Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Assn., telling LaPierre that he “had to admit” the validity of Gregory’s anti-gun positions.
To his credit, the NRA’s head man refused to cave in under Gregory’s badgering and “admit” the validity of his biased questions.
Where Gregory crossed the line was when he held up what he declared was a 30-round magazine, and tried to get LaPierre to say that if magazines were limited to a capacity of only five or 10 rounds, the massacre might not have occurred.
His guest did not take the bait.
But the Washington police did, and opened an investigation. What is to be investigated is open to conjecture.
Possession of a magazine of this capacity is punishable by a year in prison under D.C. law.
Gregory’s only apparent defenses could be that (1) it was not a real magazine, but a replica, in which case he lied to his viewers, or (2) the broadcast studio was not located in the District of Columbia, a tough premise to sell.
I agree that a 30-round magazine is pretty hard to represent as essential for either hunting or personal protection.
If a homeowner cannot hit an intruder, or a hunter cannot bring down a deer, without firing 30 shots, the gun owner needs a little additional training before being entrusted with a firearm.
The M-1 rifle, with which American soldiers won World War II, held an eight-round clip. Having trained with the M-1 at ROTC summer camp at Fort Benning, Ga., in 1961, I can assure you that if it held 30 rounds, my right shoulder would still be aching.
Does that mean that if mass murderers had to reload three times more often, they would find another way to express their wrath?
David Gregory’s foolish decision to flout D.C.’s gun laws while urging their adoption nationwide underscores the whole problem with gun control as a way to prevent mass murders.
There is no case on record, to my knowledge, of a network anchor engaging in mass murder on a school campus.
However aggravating their bias and rudeness may be, neither a 30-round magazine nor a semi-automatic pistol in the hands of a broadcaster represents much of a threat to public safety.
And therein lies the problem:
How do you keep firearms out of the hands of bad people, while preserving the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens?
(S. L. Frisbie is retired. As a journalist, he figures he has answers to most of the world’s problems, if only someone would ask him the questions. How to restrict possession of firearms to law-abiding citizens is a question for which he has no answer. Apparently, neither does David Gregory.)