From Yahoo News:
Gwendolyn Crump, director of the Office of Communications for the Washington Metropolitan Police Department, told ABC News, “NBC contacted MPD inquiring if they could utilize a high capacity magazine for their segment. NBC was informed that possession of a high capacity magazine is not permissible and their request was denied. This matter is currently being investigated.”
But ABC News has learned from an official at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives that NBC had reached out to the federal agency on Friday for advice before displaying the weaponry.
According to the ATF official, the agency noted that ATF doesn’t enforce D.C. gun laws, but agreed to put the question to a couple of Washington police officers who’ve worked with the agency in the past.
The D.C. officers advised the ATF spokesman that Gregory could display the magazine, provided it was empty, the source said.
This is one of those times when it’s useful to note that cops aren’t lawyers. Police have a bevy of regulations, rules, laws and ordinances to enforce, and have to have a breadth of knowledge across the whole of their enforceable jurisdiction that often results in thin spots at the periphery. In short, the cops don’t always know every law. Here, the DC police who responded to NBC from the department and said no were correct. Those DC officers who responded to the ATF’s query were incorrect. The statute is quite clear:
(b) No person in the District shall possess, sell, or transfer any large capacity ammunition feeding device regardless of whether the device is attached to a firearm. For the purposes of this subsection, the term “large capacity ammunition feeding device” means a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device that has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition. The term “large capacity ammunition feeding device” shall not include an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.
And as ATF noted, they don’t enforce DC gun laws. They don’t have to be aware of them all.
That turned out to be bad advice, as conservative media and gun rights activists were first to note. The ATF official describes this as a “misunderstanding,” and says he hopes DC police will not bring charges.
“Misunderstandings” for the little guy mean they get chained to a bed for months.
Maybe the ATF has learned from the murders of Brian Terry, Jaime Zapata, and now Susana Flores Maria Gamez, that they really should lie low for a while. Any discussion about gun control that involves the ATF will end up bringing up the ATF’s smuggling of thousands of weapons to Mexico’s narcoterrorist cartels, which isn’t going to help those wanting to eliminate citizens’ rights really make any points other than that government force can’t be trusted. And of course, there’s still the ongoing investigation and lawsuits to push for disclosure of some 70,000 documents that the ATF and DOJ have been stonewalling on since they started abetting murdering Mexicans and federal agents.
This is another one of those things that happens when you deal with too many regulations and too many agencies. What is legal according to one can be illegal according to another. Businesses that deal with city, county, state, and federal rules on commerce run into this all the time. Firearms owners in states without preemption laws at some level often have to deal with patchwork laws as well, and have to be very aware of the minefield they constantly weave.