Washington D.C. police told NBC News prior to Sunday’s broadcast of "Meet the Press" that it was not allowed to use a high-capacity gun clip as a prop during an interview with National Rifle Associate CEO Wayne LaPierre.
"NBC contacted [the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department] inquiring if they could utilize a high-capacity magazine for their segment," Gwendolyn Crump, a police spokeswoman, said in an email to Politico. "NBC was informed that possession of a high capacity magazine is not permissible and their request was denied."
NBC News anchor David Gregory is being investigated by police after displaying what he said was a high-capacity magazine on the broadcast, a department spokeswoman said.
Gregory held up what appeared to be a 30-round gun magazine — barred under Washington municipal code — while hosting the nationally broadcast interview with LaPierre.
"Here is a magazine for ammunition that carries 30 bullets," Gregory said as he held aloft the black cartridge, according to video posted on the network's website.
"Now isn't it possible that, if we got rid of these, if we replaced them and said 'Well, you could only have a magazine that carries five bullets or ten bullets,' isn't it just possible that we can reduce the carnage in a situation like Newtown?" Gregory asked LaPierre.
"I don't think it's what will work," LaPierre responded.
The incident is "being investigated as a violation of D.C. code," said Washington Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Tisha Gant. She declined to elaborate.
Washington's municipal code prohibits possession, sale or transfer of "any large capacity ammunition feeding device, regardless of whether the device is attached to a firearm."
The maximum penalty for conviction on such a charge is a $1,000 fine and one year in prison.
NBC spokeswoman Erika Masonhall, contacted by email, said the network had no comment on the investigation.
After the broadcast, which originated in Washington, a number of bloggers and websites questioned Gregory's actions and the legality of the gun clip.
A petition posted on the White House website calling for a charge to be brought against Gregory contained more than 7,000 e-signatures as of Wednesday morning.
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