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Washington, DC Gun Attorney David Benowitz On The David Gregory Situation

Washington, DC Gun Attorney David Benowitz On The David Gregory Situation

Much has been made of David Gregory’s alleged possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device during an airing of Meet the Press on December 23.

In my mind there are two big questions to answer: 1) can the government prosecute Mr. Gregory; and 2) if it can, should it expend the time and resources to do so.

There are several unanswered questions regarding the government’s ability to prosecute. First, was the magazine real? Does law enforcement have possession of it? If law enforcement can’t recover the magazine, does the recording of Meet the Press’s broadcast provide enough evidence to prove the authenticity of the magazine?

Next, as some media sites have asserted, did the ATF, perhaps mistakenly, inform NBC personnel that it was permissible to use a large capacity magazine as a prop on the show? If that happened, it would be difficult to successfully prosecute Mr. Gregory. It would be hard to convince a jury to convict Mr. Gregory if he could credibly claim he was relying on the approval of a federal law enforcement agency that had been asked for permission before using the magazine.

Even if it could prosecute Mr. Gregory, does it make sense?

On the one hand, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) is faced with what could be perceived as someone publicly flouting the law to make a point on TV. This practically compels MPD to investigate.  On the other hand, given that there seem to be large obstacles to prosecution, no injuries were sustained, and that there is no real possibility of any punishment being either necessary or actually imposed, is this a case that DC’s Office of the Attorney General should take on?

Finally, putting aside the investigation-specific considerations, in the wake of the massacre at Newtown, is this really what we want the focus of our debate about gun-control issues to be?

During Sunday’s show, Mr. Gregory agreed with NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre’s position that we should explore any and all possibilities to make massacres like that at Newtown less likely. Mr. LaPierre had proposed putting armed officers and/or volunteers at elementary schools. Mr. Gregory challenged Mr. LaPierre, stating that a logical extension of his position would be to explore the possibility that a restriction on assault rifles and large capacity magazines might help. Mr. LaPierre categorically stated that any restriction on either assault rifles or magazines would have no possibility of working. That simply makes no sense. 

Along with improvements to our tracking of access to weapons to those with serious mental health issues, which Mr. LaPierre proposed, we must explore every possibility to prevent another massacre of children.


David Benowitz is a criminal defense attorney based in Washington, DC. He is a founding partner of Price Benowitz LLP, a criminal defense and personal injury firm with offices in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. You may visit his firm’s Maryland gun lawyer and Virginia gun lawyer pages for more information about relevant laws in those areas.


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I’m confident that your analysis is accurate but it would sure make me happy to see the rude, sanctimonious Gregory have to answer for violating the law.

    In my considered opinion, the analysis of David Benowitz in the case of David Gregory, et al, is through the lens of “it’s not germane to the issue of School Safety cum Gun Ban debate and how could perusing this case serve the interests of the people of DC.”

    That D.C. law is on the books and enforced for the gun grabbing reasons the people of D.C.’s elected legislators tasked DC law enforcement to enforce, not selectively grant ad hoc journalist immunity from.

    I disagree with such a posited argument that this case is not germane to the debate of gun grabber proposed draconian gun laws which has now been widened to include debating gun ban/confiscation.

    If legal advice from the ATF was sought by one or more NBC lawyers, it was in the context of Federal Gun Laws only for which the ATF is exclusively tasked with enforcing, not District of Columbia Gun Laws.

    It is claimed by NBC they sought advice from Metro DC law enforcement as to the legality of possessing that 30 magazine and it is claimed and confirmed that Metro DC Police confirmed that to possess it constitutes a crime of which no waiver is granted. period.

    What makes Gregory’s apparent crime germane to the debate on Gun Laws in general is the draconian insidious nature of this type of State (in the case DC) gun laws.

    The device in, and of, itself is not a deadly weapon yet the laws of D.C. declares it as such with regards to possession of it within the District of Columbia.

    The only exceptions are the expected exceptions of local, state and federal law enforcement and the military.

    Last I checked no gun laws anywhere exempts journalist blow hard political activists in the performance of attacking the 2nd Amendment.

    If a NBC employee was/is in possession of a facsimile 30 round magazine there would be no reason on earth I know of to check for it’s legality as a facsimile.

    A 30 magazine facsimile is not a 30 round magazine which can hold live firearm ammunition and feed that ammunition into a semi-auto firearm.

    A facsimile of such a thing could have been obtained and used on air and declared by Gregory as such.

    An example of a fake, thus legal one, is used in conjunction with a non-legal paintball toy rifle which looks like the real thing but which only projects non-lethal paint balls.

    If Gregory is not arrested and charged under the DC Gun Crime Laws for his possession of a 30 magazine as publicly viewed and publicly asserted by Gregory on broadcast television to be, there is going to be a public sh!t storm of proportions as yet unfathomed.

    It is actually in the best interests of liberal gun grabbers to neither oppose this criminal investigation nor oppose the expected result of an arrest and formal charges against Gregory and/or his accomplices.

    Either way this goes, it helps the cause of 2nd Amendment defending Americans.

    I don’t understand why anyone would possibly let someone break the law so cavalierly, particularily since the lawbreaker was so flagrant and so arrogant as to break this law after the authorities denied his requests for an exception. If Gregory skates or just get a slap on the wrist, justice is non-existant in DC. His penalty, since he did this in the face of a specific prohibition by the DC cops should not be less than the highest punishment given to others who commited the same offense. I also deny that legislation against lethal gadgets by type has any meaning, and I deny that such legislation will accomplish anything meaningful in the quest of disempowering madmen.

“Mr. LaPierre categorically stated that any restriction on either assault rifles or magazines would have no possibility of working. That simply makes no sense.”

That is an unsupported (and rather stupid) conclusion, not an argument.

Depending on what “working” is, LaPierre is exactly correct. Sandy Hook proves the point. There is no “restriction” in the realm of the possible that would prevent another Sandy Hook.

You made several other unsupported statements I will let others fisk.

    JayDick in reply to Ragspierre. | December 28, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Moreover, we tried an assault weapons ban, for 10 years or so. Did it work? I don’t think so.

      Phillep Harding in reply to JayDick. | December 28, 2012 at 5:38 pm

      No, it was not a full ban. It was a ban on certain firearms being imported or manufactured. Ones already here could be kept, or sold, privately or through a gun shop.

      Feinstein supported that law, but does not even remember what it was? Is she lying or losing her memory?

    I agree with you, Ragspierre.

    And let me trot out another plausible scenario question…

    Does NBC employ licensed armed security forces in their DC facilities which are legally licensed by the District of Columbia to possess and deploy AR-15s, ammo, and 30 round magazines in the pursuance of their duties to provide armed protection of NBC’s David Gregory and his fellow NBC employees and guests at NBC’s DC facilities?

    If so, that makes NBC total asshats in front of the entire world for championing a ban on AR-15s and their 30 round magazines in the face of School No Gun Zones and weapons bans.

      Ragspierre in reply to VotingFemale. | December 28, 2012 at 5:23 pm

      Actually, I believe that NBC uses the “honor system” for security.

      Backing that up, they have a force of ninja-skilled mean old bats with pepper-spray and Kevlar doilies.

      (No offense to anyone, btw.)

      Gregory could have help up a 1×4 painted black, and his audience wouldn’t know anything but what he told them.

legacyrepublican | December 28, 2012 at 8:54 am

The irony is that it all comes down to a magazine article.

    Rumor has it that a sweet young intern brought Gregory a copy of NewsWeek.

    She was gently chided, “No, darlin’…he asked for a HIGH VOLUME magazine…”

    An innocent mistake…

David Gregory broke the law, right? So why hasn’t he been charged? When I think of how George Zimmerman has been treated for legally defending himself, it makes me ill to read how some people are bending themselves into pretzels defending that arse Gregory. There really are two different Americas.

Mr. LaPierre categorically stated that any restriction on either assault rifles or magazines would have no possibility of working. That simply makes no sense.

what the hell?
so banning a magazine would help?
you’re saying if it was banned nobody could get/use one?
the whole point of your article proves this wrong. a banned item was handled and shown on live tv. so how did banning it help?

“Mr. Gregory challenged Mr. LaPierre, stating that a logical extension of his position would be to explore the possibility that a restriction on assault rifles and large capacity magazines might help.”

I’m not sure what Mr. Gregory thinks “logical extension” means, but this isn’t one.

“Mr. LaPierre categorically stated that any restriction on either assault rifles or magazines would have no possibility of working. That simply makes no sense.”

Yes, it doesn’t make sense in the context of the discussion. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

A ban on assault rifles would not (and did not) have stopped the shooting. Nor would a ban on large magazines.

How do you prosecute Mr. Gregory and not make it look like a sideshow? Make it clear that the District of Columbia doesn’t tolerate violations of their gun laws. They are strictly applied and upheld. If you violate the gun laws, you are punished.

    stevewhitemd in reply to egd. | December 28, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Yes, if you violate the gun law you should be punished.

    The proper context for that is to look at the last 10 to 20 violators in the District — those who, without a prior felony or misdemeanor conviction, possessed an illegal, unloaded gun magazine — and see how they were handled. Exclude celebrities and the powerful.

    My guess is that those violators received, at most, a misdemeanor conviction and some sort of probation or supervision.

    That’s what I would advocate for Mr. Gregory if he were convicted in a fair trial with all his constitutional protections, of course, or if he were to plea-bargin. I would punish him no less and no worse than John Q. Citizen.

    Otherwise it indeed becomes a sideshow, and one we don’t need right now (even if emotionally satisfying, which it would be, oh yeeessssss it would be).

For me the only thing that matters is this: If a normal, non-special privilege, citizen had been caught with the magazine would MPD think it makes sense to expend the resources to prosecute that person? If the answer to that question is ‘yes’ (and does anyone reading this think an average citizen would get a pass from MPD????) then Gregory needs to be prosecuted for it as well.

DG, or his producers, purposely chose to break the law and flouted it brazenly in front of all their viewers.
and we have people advocating for doing nothing to him?
either strike the law or apply it to everyone.

The crime is one of strict liability. Period. Gregory and his allies can tap dance all the livelong day, but the fact is NBC was told that it was not okay to use this prop for the stunt. ATF is not a defense.

Failing to prosecute would amount to selective prosecution since it is a crime of strict liability in my opinion.

He should be prosecuted and the world can see that this, like many of the so-called “reasonable” gun control laws we already have on the books may not be so “reasonable” and are not catching the population they were designed to catch.

It would be sweet to see him in the dock, arguing that the law is unreasonable.

    Midwest Rhino in reply to persecutor. | December 28, 2012 at 10:20 am

    “NBC was told that it was not okay to use this prop for the stunt. ATF is not a defense.

    ianal, but it seems AFTER they were told “NO” by the real authorities, they fished around for an answer they liked better.

    Or worse, they sought an alibi for their plan to flout the law publicly. This would make the premeditated commission of the crime, and their plan to subvert justice, more diabolical, not more innocent. imho

    Was NBC’s legal department involved in trying to fabricate a defense, and subvert justice?

    Ragspierre in reply to persecutor. | December 28, 2012 at 10:26 am

    “It would be hard to convince a jury to convict Mr. Gregory if he could credibly claim he was relying on the approval of a federal law enforcement agency that had been asked for permission before using the magazine.”

    Let’s ask the prosecutor…

    Does THAT EVER make it to the jury? Because this civil litigator would move that it was irrelevant under this statute.

    Likewise the assertion that “…no injuries were sustained…” STFW…!?!?

    Is there a pattern jury charge for this offense? And would jury instructions simply ask if the evidence showed beyond reasonable doubt that the Defendant was in possession of a prohibited item?

    And, getting advice from a Federal agency (here, think IRS) gives nobody a fig-leaf. People are prosecuted every day who understood they were OK.

      persecutor in reply to Ragspierre. | December 28, 2012 at 11:19 am

      It’s totally clear from the facts we know that the DC Police told them not to do it, and that they “forum shopped” until they found a willing ally in the form of the ATF (those lovable rascals who brought you Fast and Furious®, Eric Holder, Esq., Prop.) to supposedly give the okay to the stunt. Somehow, I don’t think the ATF is going to be running to absolve the future “Miss Cellblock B” of culpability.
      While I don’t have the pattern charges to DC’s statutes, NY Penal Law definitions are usually given verbatim to juries as part of the judge’s charge to the jury. Penal Law §15.20 (2) would be the one that a judge would use here, and unless I’m mistaken, the ATF has no jurisdiction enforcing DC Statutes; the DC Police do, and they issued their interpretation clearly to NBC. (Subsection D.)
      Penal Law §15.20 states:
      2. A person is not relieved of criminal liability for conduct because
      he engages in such conduct under a mistaken belief that it does not, as
      a matter of law, constitute an offense, unless such mistaken belief is
      founded upon an official statement of the law contained in (a) a statute
      or other enactment, or (b) an administrative order or grant of
      permission, or (c) a judicial decision of a state or federal court, or
      (d) an interpretation of the statute or law relating to the offense,
      officially made or issued by a public servant, agency or body legally
      charged or empowered with the responsibility or privilege of
      administering, enforcing or interpreting such statute or law.

      But as we all know, liberals can’t be accused of breaking a law because they’re good people.

        Ragspierre in reply to persecutor. | December 28, 2012 at 12:27 pm

        “But as we all know, liberals can’t be accused of breaking a law because they’re good people.”

        I would amend that slightly…

        “…because they are THE good people”.

        Mr.FadedGlory in reply to persecutor. | December 28, 2012 at 2:35 pm

        Ya, I would think an entrapment by estoppel defense would be a tenuous claim unless it was the feds they were facing prosecution from. It is made flimsier by reports that the authority with jurisdiction explicitly told them no. Last legitimate use I saw of the entrapment by estoppel defense resulted in the judge throwing out all of the testimony involving statements from a federal (DEA) agent as well as on the record statements from Obama and Holder.

Since NBC asked about the magazine before hand, was told “No” and proceeded to show the magazine, the Police need to prosecute. Such willful and brazen lawlessness must not go unanswered.

Thank you for your article, Mr. Benowitz.

Would you please next give us your opinion as to what the legal situation might be if it had been Mr. LaPierre — and not Mr. Gregory — who had held up that magazine on that news program last Sunday.

this scumbag knew what the law said, because NBC took the time to ask the MPD if they could get away with violating the law long enough to argue for a nationwide law that would mirror the law in question.

unsurprisingly, MPD said no, you can’t break the law. equally unsurprisingly, NBC wanted a different answer, so they shopped around for a different one and found the feckless scum at the ATF, the same “law enforcement agency” complicit in the murder of hundreds, if not thousands of Mexican nationals, and several Americans, through it’s criminal enterprise “Fast and Furious”.

the ATF is actively obstructing the justice by hindering the on-going Congressional investigation of that criminal conspiracy and the ATF is NOT responsible for the enforcement of the DC law, so their opinion is worthless, unless you are a MFM hack looking for an excuse to create propaganda.

if, instead of being our illustrious media figure, they had broadcast an interview with a common prole member of the great unwashed, who was careless enough to believe that using a magazine as a prop to make his point, the MPD would have had the SWAT team outside their home before the ink was dry on the search warrant, ready to bust in and seize the illegal and deadly device, and everything else they could find from the dastardly cur before it’s inherent evil massacred innocents for miles around.

in short, either Gregory is investigated and prosecuted under the law, or we, as a nation need to admit that we are not a nation of laws, but rather one of privilege, where who you are and who you know makes all the difference in the world. if we now officially have a nomenklatura, which already appears to be true to the discerning observer, then those of us who will be zeks in the glorious future need to know exactly where we stand in the scheme of things, that we may act accordingly, as our consciences dictate.

1. I’m all for prosecutorial discretion. Three Felonies a Day sounds like a worthwhile book.

2. Maybe Real Conservatives™ who demand that the Law Be Enforced would sing a different tune if, say, Rush Limbaugh were caught with a gun illegal in a jurisdiction he was passing through.

3. That said, it appears that a number of high-ranking people at NBC may not only have broken the law, but flouted it. If that’s the case, I find it hard to let it pass; my prescription would be a hefty fine that more than covers the full cost of the investigation and trial (if any): “full cost” includes the diversion of law enforcement resources from more serious matters.

    if rush asked about the law, was told about it and then chose to break the law on purpose I would advocate his getting charged too.

    here the thing, a person advocating banning a 30 round magazine procured and displayed a BANNED 30 round magazine while saying it needs to be banned.
    he knew it was banned.
    he thought he would get away with it.

      if rush asked about the law, was told about it and then chose to break the law on purpose I would advocate his getting charged too.

      Then good for you.

      As my comment indicated, afaic intent is, or should be, essential in situations like this.

      Milwaukee in reply to dmacleo. | December 28, 2012 at 11:13 am

      … he thought he would get away with it.

      So far, so good. Any bets on how long he needs to run out the clock?

    persecutor in reply to gs. | December 28, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Substitute Rush for “Surfer Ken” and my analysis would remain the same, as would my belief that he should be prosecuted.

    The only problem with your hypothetical is that Rush would not have done it no matter how many opinions he had–Gregory never thought he’d be a target, but Rush has lived with a bullseye on his back for decades. Remember the headlines when he returned to the US while on probation with Viagra in a pill case instead of a prescription vial and the media clamored for him to be prosecuted for a violation of probation? No violation, but it showed the microscope he lives under.

    Crawford in reply to gs. | December 28, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    “I’m all for prosecutorial discretion. Three Felonies a Day sounds like a worthwhile book.”

    Then you misunderstand the thesis of the book and the concept of the rule of law. “Prosecutorial discretion” inevitably means that the connected and popular get away with crimes that the less popular have their lives wrecked over. It’s the opposite of equality before the law.

    The point of “Three Felonies a Day” is that our “laws” are so poorly written and over-wrought that we inadvertantly commit multiple felonies in the normal course of our lives. We should not be thankful for “prosecutorial discretion”, but rather wrathful at the “legislators” who leave us at the mercy of prosecutors who could destroy us at their whim.

Along with improvements to our tracking of access to weapons to those with serious mental health issues, which Mr. LaPierre proposed, we must explore every possibility to prevent another massacre of children.

I disagree. These mass murders are terrible, but there’s a base rate error in overblowing their importance. Far, far more children are injured and killed by other things. For example, should we also, in exploring “every possibility” to prevent motor vehicle accident deaths, require all automobiles to be made with the sturdiness of a Sherman tank. (Maybe we “should” but the “if it saves only one life” argument is a common but fallacious call to action where limited time, effort and cost could be expended more productively.)

With regard to calls to action to ban “assault” weapons: the Second Amendment was enacted to be a check against the federal government’s standing army. In this sense, then, that means that the “militia” (all citizens capable of bearing arms — which reasonably arguably excludes your mentally feeble, your non-citizen immigrants, and felons with restricted citizenship rights — are entitled to bear arms adequate to that job. It is no longer arguable either that “well-regulated” means “subject to government regulation”. That adjective meant “in good working order”, and connoted — if conscious “regulation” were possible — self-regulation.

    Midwest Rhino in reply to janitor. | December 28, 2012 at 11:10 am

    “the “if it saves only one life” argument is a common but fallacious call to action “


    And the mental abuse of the 80 million kids (and their parents) that safely attend school daily, should be weighed against the media sensationalization of this tragedy for an emotional and illogical appeal to subvert our liberties. American kids are used as innocent human shields, as the fascist left clings to their religion of disarmament.

    The one action that removes that terror is the placing of armed adults in schools, since the blame for this tragedy rests squarely on the forced disarmament of those in charge of our precious children.

    Rahm and Barack protect their children with guns, while willing to not “save only ONE”, but lose MANY more kids by continuing to disarm the good guys. A fascist government, and organized crime, are the only ones that benefit by disarming the good guys. But then, Barack believes in unilateral disarmament.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | December 28, 2012 at 10:10 am

“Mr. LaPierre categorically stated that any restriction on either assault rifles or magazines would have no possibility of working. That simply makes no sense.”

Why not look at facts and data rather than what “makes sense”?

We conducted a 10 year experiment with an “assault weapons” ban. Why not look at the hard data about mass shootings that occurred during that time and compare it to the time immediately before and immediately after when the experiment ended? I admit I have not evaluated the data. But I trust Charles Krauthammer who says he has. And he claims there was no material change in mass shootings during that time. Further, we all know that one of the most notorious mass school shootings in history, Columbine, happened during that time and the perps used assault weapons.

If there are really 300,000,000 guns in private hands, that means that these atrocities are actually extraordinarily rare. 99% of all legal gun owners are responsible. What “makes no sense to me” is thinking that restricting the civil rights of the responsible 99% will solve a problem overwhelmingly committed by the delusional and mentally disturbed: Harris (Columbine – was taking anti-depressant drugs and seeing a shrink), Loughner (Tucson – well known by those around him to be delusional), Holmes (Auroa – seeing a shrink), and Lanza (Newtown).

How can it be any more clear that keeping guns – all guns, not just “assault rifles” and high capacity magazines – out of the hands of the delusional and the mentally disturbed would go a long way toward reducing these incidents?

    “What “makes no sense to me” is thinking that restricting the civil rights of the responsible 99% will solve a problem overwhelmingly committed by the delusional and mentally disturbed”

    For some reason I cannot quite fathom, the Left concerns itself only with the rights of freaks, criminals and lunatics. If you are a healthy, law-abiding citizen, then the left considers you the first person to be punished after someone else commits a crime.

“If law enforcement can’t recover the magazine”

You feel that NBC News is likely to destroy evidence relevant to the investigation? But they’re not criminals?

    Crawford in reply to Karnak. | December 28, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Does it matter if they can’t “recover” the magazine? He’s on video as being in DC, in possession of a banned item, and describing what he’s holding! His own words and actions are the evidence!

“Even if it could prosecute Mr. Gregory, does it make sense?”

According to whom? And political, practical, moral or public-interest sense?

The law appears to be a strict liability law.

First, there is no intent element to it.

Second, there also appears to be no exception that allows the DC police, much less the ATF, to waive the application of the law.

Third, NBC appears to have engaged in a type of opinion shopping. They asked the DC police, and not liking the answer, appeared to have asked ATF the same question, in order to get a more favorable answer. If one is going to infer an intent element, the mere fact that they asked means they were well aware of the requirement, and were aware of the risk they were taking.

Fourth, there is no First Amendment exception to gun laws. Making a point is not a valid defense.

Fifth, NBC could have done the same show in a jurisdiction that does not ban magazines, such as New York, or the offfice of one of their affiliates in Virginia or Maryland. Or they could have permanetly disabled the magazine prior to the show. 30 seconds with a tin snip could render it inoperable, and therefore, exempt it from the ban. They chose not to.

Finally, while I’m not in favor of this law and question its constitutionality, the existence of the law if primarily a question for the voters of DC. I have no problem following the Rules for Radicals. Ask them to follow their own rules. Ask them to prosecute, and if not, let’s get an explanation of why. The answer is likely to be the most enlightening part of the discussion, because it calls into question the purpose of the law to begin with.

    persecutor in reply to Think38. | December 28, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Legally, they couldn’t have done it in NY–we have basically the same law on our books (unless they could prove it was a “pre-ban” magazine that is grandfathered in).

    Whether it’s strict liability or not, the requisite intent seems to be present for a mere possession law.

    Did Gregory intend the act (possession)? Pretty clearly yes. Then his actions meet the requirement for general intent.

    Did Gregory intend the result (possession of a magazine that is banned by the law)? Pretty clearly yes. Then his actions meet the requirement for specific intent.

    Gregory can’t even claim ignorance of the law, even if it’s no excuse. Nor can he claim ignorance of fact, he specifically sought out a magazine having sufficient capacity to violate the general ban.

    Gregory clearly had intent sufficient to satisfy the law.

I am a legal gun owner who submitted to background checks, completed the appropriate training, and take gun ownership seriously. As law-abiding citizens we are expected to navigate the labyrinth of conflicting state laws regarding firearms and we do successfully everyday. Although many of these laws are conflicting between neighboring states, we still respect them and abide by them everyday. Let’s make it easy for everyone (including David Gregory) and develop a basic framework across the United States.

With 300 million firearms in private hands (one-third of them pistols), the overwhelming majority of gun owners ARE responsible, law-abiding citizens, which is why these horrific massacres are not commonplace, but rather horrific outliers that can never be legislated away (e.g. DC, Chicago, and “Gun Free Zones”). We need teach personal responsibility to our children, family, friends, neighbors and politicians and hold them accountable for their actions.

For several examples for the recent use of firearms for defensive purposes not typically reported by the national media please visit: and forward this address to others to whom this information may be useful. @forceequalizer

The magazine ban is a stupid, ineffective and unconstitutional law that, by design, was passed to advance disarmament down its slippery slope. Dick Gregory advocates for this thoughtless illegal ban; it is his petard.

“In my mind there are two big questions to answer: 1) can the government prosecute Mr. Gregory; and 2) if it can, should it expend the time and resources to do so.”

The government that enacted this law has ‘skin in the game’ as it knows full well the disingenuous nature behind this law. Dick Gregory, as a hoplophobe, is not the target of this law; indeed he is an advocate for the law. The government in its full, wicked deviance would naturally be inclined not to prosecute one of its advocates.

The question at hand is that of the nature of government: is it going to be the rule of law or is it to be the rule of man?

The DC government and the MPD will have to decide this question with the entire nation watching. If they decide that their rule will be the rule of man, then they bring their legitimacy under question.

I say that they should hoist Dick Gregory upon his own petard and then strike the law in question from its books.

Question: Who owned the clip Gregory displayed?

Question: Why didn’t the producer of the show have their ATF contact bring over a clip?

Question: After the DC police response to saying no, you actually mean that no one in the DC department wasn’t asked to bring over an ammunition clip for it to be displayed?

Question: Knowing the restrictive nature of DC gun laws that prompted the NBC staff to ask about the legality of the display, did NBC really think having a government official bring a sample clip smack too much of the hand in glove cooperation with the anti-gun narrative being foisted upon the public?

First off, you categorically deny LaPierre has a point about magazine bans having no beneficial effect after you just finished arguing that there’s no benefit in prosecuting a violation of a law which does exactly that. You like to have it both ways, don’t you?

You state that the DC Police have to obtain the magazine Gregory was holding and ascertain its authenticity before an arrest was made. So why hasn’t a search warrant been served on NBC for the magazine? Maybe because there would then have to be an arrest for whoever has it in their possession at that point, as well as Mr. Gregory? There is a prima facie case that Mr. Gregory broke the law, we have video of him in possession of the magazine, describing its exact characteristics which make it contraband. Whatever “investigation” the police have been following, it is not a factual one but a political one.

The bottom line is that Gregory is on tape apparently violating the law by his own words, and if that law has any meaning at all it must be enforced when there is a clear violation. There is a public good in prosecuting this case as it provides an example of both the uselessness and abusiveness of the very laws Gregory was advocating. It makes a vital point Mr. LaPierre and Mr. Gregory were debating on the air when discussing passing such a law on a nation-wide basis. If the police refuse to prosecute the law, it is because they know it is a bad law but want to avoid advertising that fact in the midst of the political debate about it in order to sway the public towards expanding it. That is politicization of law enforcement of the worst kind, and anybody who advocates that advocates the corruption of all three branches of our government.

    Excellent points.

    I think it’s clear by now that the need to prosecute is compellingly in the public interest. In the aftermath of a horrible massacre which the media has exploited in every sense possible, the idea that law enforcement would NOT follow-through on a conspicuous violation of the gun control laws by the media is an insult both to common sense and public interest and declares a double standard damaging to society. A public shaming of NBC and a stiff fine is necessary.

In my mind there are two big questions to answer: 1) can the government prosecute Mr. Gregory; and 2) if it can, should it expend the time and resources to do so.

These are absolutely the wrong questions. The first question that should be asked is, “What is the harm with arresting him compared to the harm of not arresting him?”

If he is arrested, the police send the message that they are serious about enforcing the law. If they do not arrest him they will be sending the message that justice is not blind, that it’s different when important people (especially liberal ones) break the law.

I would say the second one is a far greater harm.

Whether or not he can be successfully prosecuted is, of course, a separate issue and one which can be dealt with later. He will probably be inclined to accept a plea deal in any case, because a guy like that would never survive prison.

I for one want him prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The law is the law! Only because he is a coney do you even involve yourself in this debate.

I repeat the law is the law. If it is not good for the goose then it is not good for the gander – free anyone in DC who is imprisoned for illegal possession of a fire arm or illegal clip!

    persecutor in reply to betty. | December 28, 2012 at 11:40 am

    I couldn’t agree with you more.

    The law is the law, and since Gregory supports the law and clamors for more in their vein, he should be happy to assist in seeing that the law is enforced to the fullest.

    [sarcasm on] How do we know that he isn’t planning on going over to his kids’ school and shooting up the place with his illegal 30 round magazine sometime in the future? We have to get these tools of death off the streets no matter what it takes, or who the criminals are.
    [sarcasm off]

If Gregory broke the law on advise of NBC counsel, and NBC counsel advised calling ATF for a “mistaken belief” alibi, should not NBC counsel be deserving of reprimand or investigation?

It would seem at least unethical to counsel on how to get away with a crime, though it seems to be routine.

It seems NBC’s “forum shopping” and premeditation is a more piercing ‘public blog trial’ charge than Gregory’s “noble” effort to make his case for a greater good. (the last half sentence is sarcasm, but also seems to be the public perception, even Greta’s, in defense of her cohort. and I’m borrowing from persecutor’s comment above for terminology, I’m not that smart :))

If they plan arresting him, they’ll have a pre-booking mug shot — if they use the one they took for Curious George.

Am I reading this right? If the person’s intent is thought to be pure then it’s OK to carry an assault weapon and/or its magazine?

“…That simply makes no sense.”

Come back when your critical thinking skills have been restored.

Kudos to the Professor, however, for allowing you the space to spout such drive.

Subotai Bahadur | December 28, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Boils down to this. Mr. Benowitz argues that the law does not apply to “our betters” because it is not worth the effort to prosecute them for violations because they can afford lawyers like Mr. Benowitz. And because those in charge of our criminal justice system think the same way. It is part of what passes as our version of the droits de feodalité dominante.

Last night the family and I went to see Les Misérables. On the drive back home [we live in the mountains 40+ miles away from the nearest theater showing it] we had a discussion about the class, legal, economic, and tax separations in the Ancien Régime, the various forms of the Republic, the First Empire, and the Bourbon Restoration. I am the family historian, but I was pleased when the others drew the inferences of the parallels between then and now.

Subotai Bahadur

Exactly. You are all missing the point. Mr. Benowitz, like Mr. Gregory, belongs to that elite group who consider themselves to be our natural rulers. How could it possibly be proper, correct or even well-mannered to prosecute one of our lords and masters for any crime?? It is an exceedingly good thing that none of our self-proclaimed ruling class live very close to where most of the Americans who make up the ruled class live. I also recommend that none of our benevolent and wise rulers give up the protection of the armed and violent men who surround them. They think that neither any school children nor the rest of us would benefit from such armed protection, but seem to be quite certain that they and their families require such guards, especially when the rest of us pay for the guards. Lovely, isn’t it?

If it can be proven that he broke the D.C. assault weapons ban, then he should be prosecuted.

If the law doesn’t apply to everyone, then it should be repealed.

In September 2011, former Army Specialist Adam Meckler was arrested at the VFW in the District because he happened to have a few long-forgotten rounds of ordinary ammunition in his bag. The veteran of both the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq was jailed and later accepted a plea deal, which he now regrets.
Emily Miller has pointed out the nonsense in D.C. a couple of times.

Army 1st Sergeant Matthew Corrigan was woken in the middle of the night, forced out of his home, arrested, had his home ransacked, had his guns seized and was thrown in jail — where he was lost in the prison system for two weeks — all because the District refuses to recognize the meaning of the Second Amendment. This week, the city dropped all charges against Sgt. Corrigan, but the damage done to this reservist cannot be so easily erased.

This story will describe how Sgt. Corrigan went from sleeping at home at night to arrested. Subsequent installments of the series will cover the home raid without a warrant, the long-term imprisonment and the coverup by MPD.

Returning to South Carolina on June 30, 2010, Mr. Kim stopped at Walter Reed for a doctor’s appointment. Afterwards, he got lost while driving his two-door Honda Civic in downtown D.C. in the evening. He was pulled over by police.

The officer said that his driver’s license had been suspended. He was unaware of this. He found out the next morning that it was wrongly suspended due to a clerical error in which North Carolina incorrectly reported to South Carolina that he didn’t pay a speeding ticket. Mr. Kim called and had this cleared up the next morning.
However, because of the suspended license, the D.C. police officer called for backup, and told Mr. Kim he would have to go to the police station. Then the cops asked Mr. Kim if they could search his vehicle. The lieutenant agreed because his guns were properly locked in a case in the trunk, in compliance with federal firearm transport laws. Mr. Kim was handcuffed and told to sit on the curb during the search.

Until we control our borders, the illegal (i.e. unmeasured) entry of one million aliens annually undermines the government’s standing to impose any restrictions, reasonable or otherwise, on American citizens.

Until this administration is held accountable for the provision of weapons to arm drug cartels, and terrorists, which were subsequently used to murder hundreds of people in Central America, and at least two in America, then this administration has no moral standing to dictate that American citizens be left vulnerable to exploitation by minority interests, criminal and democratic.

Until we address the fact criminals do not and will not obey laws, then the only reasonable mitigation to suffer involuntary exploitation is to increase both risk and opportunity cost to any minority interest which desire to perpetrate a crime against life and property.

That said, it is a trivial exercise to exchange magazines or clips in short intervals. This would suggest that people who want to limit our rights possess an ulterior motive. In fact, we know they are not acting in good faith, since they only feign concern for developing human life until it can be exploited to assert democratic leverage.

There cannot be one law for David Gregory, and another law for me.

Just to point out, Gregory ought to show up at MPD Central with clip in hand and offer himself up for arrest with his lawyer in tow. With the cameras rolling it would make great front page or opening story for NBC. But they are having none of it.

Used to be the Press years ago went out of their way to tweak the nose of government. Now days they are just the propaganda arm of the government.