Free Markets, Free People

Since when do you need the permission of the cops to exercise your First Amendment rights?

I’m certainly no fan of David Gregory. I think he is typical of the new breed of “journalist”, more interested in making news than reporting it. But I also think this nonsense about him showing a high capacity magazine on his Sunday show to be just that, nonsense.

Apparently, now we have to go to the police to get permission to show items on television when they are deemed illegal by our authorities, even if the intent is totally benign.

What has this country come to if it is necessary now to clear our speech with the authorities?

NBC was told by the Washington police that it was “not permissible” to show a high-capacity gun magazine on air before Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” according to a statement Wednesday from the cops.

“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. “NBC was informed that possession of a high capacity magazine is not permissible and their request was denied. This matter is currently being investigated.”

Since when do we need permission from the authorities to exercise our First Amendment rights?   Here we have a perfect example of the law making criminals of otherwise law-abiding citizens. This is the state of our nation. We no longer enjoy the freedoms we once had, and our rights are fast becoming permission granted by government.

As I’m sure you know, that’s not the way it was supposed to work.


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23 Responses to Since when do you need the permission of the cops to exercise your First Amendment rights?

  • It also shows how pointless gun control is.  Wouldn’t it be ironic if gun control laws that didn’t stop psycho killers from committing mass murder managed to sweep up David Gregory instead.

  • His offense was not “showing a magazine”, McQ.
    Under the DC strict liability statute, POSSESSION is the offense.  And there were a string of offenders at NBC, no doubt about it.
    You don’t get “permission” or “advice” from ANYBODY to avoid a strict liability law. They are kind of…how should we put it…STRICT!  There is no mens rea required.
    This is like pleading you had the minor’s mommy’s permission when you committed statutory rape. It does NOT avail as a defense, and it DOES just make you look both more guilty and more creepy.
    And you don’t have a license under the First to commit crimes in the name of “expression”, as I’ve pointed out WRT the OccupyWhatever thugs.

    • Dammit!  Beaten again by the guy who does this for a living  🙂

    • My guess is that he wanted to be able to handle it in his show and turn some low capacity clip rifle into an ‘assault weapon’ looking weapon and brandish it about for some theatrics.
      Otherwise he would have been satisfied with going to a place where they were legally allowed (like @ the police armory) and done a quick clip there.

  • This is strictly a point of making the gander wear the sauce he’s been advocating for the goose.   It’s an object lesson, intended to embarrass the powers that pass and enforce such laws and arrogant know it alls who think they ought to be exempt from the laws that bind the rest of us because they’re ‘important’ and we’re not.   You know full well if you or I were to walk down the street in DC with that magazine on a chain around our necks, no rounds and no weapon, we’d be hastily arrested and prosecuted for it.  The goal is nothing but to force their hands into claiming he’s a special case, when there is no provision for any special case, and it goes down hill for them from there.
    As someone pointed out elsewhere, he’s not free to violate the law against possession just because he has a First Amendment protections either as a citizen or as a member of the press, and the DC law doesn’t allow for mens rea exemption.
    But you surely know this.

    The people crying for him to be prosecuted are mostly people who vehemently disagree with the law in the first place.

    • Alinsky cuts both ways…

      • This is beautiful especially because they KNEW they were violating the law, as demonstrated by their phone call for permission and went forward and did so without it.   Guilty knowledge, and willfulness.
        IF they give Gregory an exemption, they create precedent.  Conversely I have no aversion to seeing Gregory hoist with his own petard if they do not.

  • I’m not a lawyer, but must admit that the irony of him being prosecuted for breaking a law on the books while trying to make the point with regard to needing stricter gun laws does make me chuckle.  If he is not prosecuted, that too would speak to a problem as then it is selectively enforced based on intent/agenda.  He asked, was denied, then decided to ignore…criminals, for whom that law was intended, would not ask, but would (and do) choose to ignore.

    • If Mr. Gregory does get a pass then there should be an equal protection lawsuit against the city for those that have been prosecuted and/or convicted for having a 30 round magazine.

      • It would be a fantastic breakthrough if citizens could begin ignoring gun laws on 1st amendment grounds.  It would be a fantastic precedent to ignore all the “possession” laws – guns, drugs, smog-violating cars, etc… “I’m just exercising my first amendment rights to show this contraband item to the world!”

  • In DC, where the show was filmed, possession of that magazine is a crime. Gregory did not need permission to show the magazine, but to have it.

  • Wow –
    not at all shy is she?

    Bans the sale, transfer, importation, or manufacturing of:

    120 specifically-named firearms
    Certain other semiautomatic rifles, handguns, shotguns that can accept a detachable magazine and have one military characteristic
    Semiautomatic rifles and handguns with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds

    Strengthens the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban and various state bans by:

    Moving from a 2-characteristic test to a 1-characteristic test
    Eliminating the easy-to-remove bayonet mounts and flash suppressors from the characteristics test
    Banning firearms with “thumbhole stocks” and “bullet buttons” to address attempts to “work around” prior bans

    Bans large-capacity ammunition feeding devices capable of accepting more than 10 rounds.
    Protects legitimate hunters and the rights of existing gun owners by:

    Grandfathering weapons legally possessed on the date of enactment
    Exempting over 900 specifically-named weapons used for hunting or sporting purposes and
    Exempting antique, manually-operated, and permanently disabled weapons

    Requires that grandfathered weapons be registered under the National Firearms Act, to include:

    Background check of owner and any transferee;
    Type and serial number of the firearm;
    Positive identification, including photograph and fingerprint;
    Certification from local law enforcement of identity and that possession would not violate State or local law; and
    Dedicated funding for ATF to implement registration

    Note the last set of points – you can keep your grandfathered weapons boys, you just have to ask for permission and register with the FED and local authorities to make the ‘next phase’ easier.    So your existing gun rights are protected, until they decide it’s time for them to be taken away.
    What was it I said a couple days ago about something to the effect of your personally addressed letter from the FED reminding you that they give you 30 days to turn your weapon in or classify you as a criminal when they decide to attempt confiscation?
    Kangaroo, road, car,  hop, hop, hop

    • Despite Americans’ willingness to strengthen gun laws in the wake of Sandy Hook and other deadly mass shootings, Gallup finds public opposition to a broad ban on the possession of handguns at a record-high 74%. Conversely, the 24% in favor is the lowest recorded since Gallup first asked the question in 1959.

      I ain’t skeered…  And, like I’ve said, remember Prohibition…  And they didn’t have the internet and a world-wide marketplace!

      • How about evil non-white assault rifles?  What does the public think of them?   Damn racists I’ll just bet.

        • The needle has barely flicked, in spite of all the BS.  More people are killed with knives in the US than with rifles.  True fact…

          • But people are only looking at her hand gun grab with the magazine issue.   She’s built this to go way beyond pistols.
            It’s looks designed to get every gun.  Those that aren’t turned in ‘today’ are blessed by, and registered with, the government for the forever future, including every War of Northern Aggression terrible assault antiques I possess.

  • Wrong amendment. The first amendment has nothing to do with possession of firearms, related equipment, or property of any type. Not even in its various emanations and penumbras.
    I wouldn’t look for actual enforcement of the law in this case. Journalists seem to have ‘get out of jail free’ cards. Some years ago the late William Raspberry shot an intruder with an unlicensed handgun. No problem.

  • I’m not defending Gregory for anything under any circumstances. I want to see him arrested charged and sentenced like any normal person. He doesn’t get a pass because of journalism. Especially since he’s so anti-gun while sending his precious precious kid to a school where they have armed protection.  Nope, I want to see this mope in jail. If he was an ordinary black man you know he’d already be in the stir

  • I want Gregory arrested so NBC with their deep pocket will challenge the law.
    Feinstein’s bill will mandate that “grandfathered weapons be registered.” That worked out so well in the past in NYC and CA.
    American gun owners may have good reason to be skeptical of common assurances that registration records won’t ever be used for anything more than tracking lost and stolen weapons. In New York City, the center of agitation for tighter U.S. gun laws, the registration system for long guns such as rifles and shotguns, established in 1967, was used in the 1990s to confiscate previously lawful semiautomatic rifles.

    California state officials pulled a similar stunt, though with a shorter grace period. After the registration of so-called “assault weapons” subsequent to the passage of the Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989, Attorney General Dan Lungren reversed official position in 1997 to declare one of the rifles considered legal and subject to registration just a few years earlier—the SKS Sporter—to be illegal. Owners who had complied with the law were forced to surrender their weapons or transfer them out of state.

  • Yeah, not a First Amendment issue. Lock him up.

    I would be happy to jurry nulify gun laws, but not for lefties who support gun control.

  • Ann Althouse  has a rather amusing comment on the Gregory situation;