On Sunday's edition of Meet the Press, host David Gregory brandished a high-capacity gun magazine while in the midst of interviewing the National Rifle Association's executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre. Originally intended to prove a point, Gregory's gutsy move not only captured the attention of the national audience, but also landed him at the center of a police investigation.
After the show aired from its Washington, D.C., studio, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) opened an investigation concerning the legality of possessing such a magazine within the district. If charged, it appears that Gregory faces a penalty of up to a $1,000 fine and no more than one-year in prison.
I say charge and sentence him to the fullest extent of the law. Not only would such a move display some much needed poetic justice, but it just may derail America's anti-gun trend.
The entire ordeal hatched after NBC attempted to clear Gregory's stunt beforehand, when NBC contacted the MPD and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for approval. As it appears now, conflicting answers from both departments led NBC to believe that Gregory's plan would not be rendered problematic, although, details are still sketchy and the full story is yet to be unearthed.
The reason for NBC's attempt to gain approval for displaying the magazine and, ultimately, the potential charges against Gregory, lies within one of D.C.'s many gun laws. This law states that no person in D.C. shall possess a “large capacity ammunition feeding device" or any similar device capable of holding "more than 10 rounds of ammunition," loaded or otherwise.
To many, magazine capacity restrictions appear to be reasonable measures, geared towards preventing mass-shootings, although I'm sure that's not the current sentiment in the halls of NBC. However, D.C.'s reasoning swiftly dissipates once their gun laws are fully examined.
In order to purchase a gun in D.C., one must first file an application, provide proof of identity and proof of residency. A potential gun owner must also complete a safety course, either privately or the online course that the MPD provides free of charge. In addition, one must also pass a written test, pay $48 in fees, provide fingerprints for a background check and certify that they're not blind (how many fingers?).
Once one has successfully jumped through those hoops, the gun-owner is required to wait 10-days from the date of purchase before they may possess the purchased gun. And, just for fun, gun owners are required to re-register their weapon every three years.
If a gun is purchased outside of D.C. and the owner intends to bring the gun back to their D.C. home, he or she must notify the MPD with their intent to register the gun. Of which, affords the gun owner a 48-hour grace period for the registration process to be completed.
Citizens are not even allowed to purchase or possess ammunition for firearms that differ from their registered firearms and may only register one gun per 30-day period ... unless you’re relocating to D.C., where all of your legal firearms may be registered at once.
Unlike most places, D.C. also neglects to provide concealed carry permits or the ability to openly carry a weapon, except at the registered owners house or place of business.
Basically, it's not exactly the easiest place in the world to purchase or possess a firearm.
Now some may look at these laws and conclude that they will deter gun related crimes, seeing that the process to own a firearm is so rigorous. However, once someone looks at D.C.'s crime rates, that opinion may be swayed.
As of August of this year, D.C.'s total crime rate was up 9% over 2011's final rating. In addition, gun related crimes made significant citywide jumps as well. Assaults with a gun went up 15% and robberies involving guns shot up a staggering 23%. Those figures don't exactly scream determent.
So, how do these suffocating gun laws and correlating crime rates receive their deserved attention? David Gregory, that's how.
What could possibly expose the ridiculousness of over-baring gun laws — specifically in places like D.C. — better than a national TV personality being fined and imprisoned for holding an empty magazine?
Not to mention that you'd expect that someone who clearly pushes the anti-gun agenda, would fully abide by the pertaining laws ... lest his hypocrisy holds no boundaries.
Between exposing the absurdity of D.C.'s gun laws and, hopefully, showing that such laws fail to deter gun-related crimes, David Gregory may just be the best thing that ever happened for the pro-gun crowd and the Second Amendment.
At best, he'll be the victim of obscenely ridiculous gun-laws and at worst, he'll rehash the pro-gun movement to heightened levels of involvement. Whether or not Gregory is charged for the crime, he just may be responsible for American's jumping off of the antigun bandwagon and back towards common sense.
As a side note: If Gregory does go to jail, I call dibs on the first "Free Gregory" t-shirt.