Can you use the First Amendment as a defense to the Second Amendment?

December 25th, 2012

David Gregory is under some kind of investigation for waving around a 30-round magazine on Meet the Press, which is filmed in Washington, D.C., where possession of such magazines is generally illegal. Doug Mataconis raised an interesting historical bit.

For the record, though, if this is indeed a violation of the law, there isn’t likely to be a “journalistic” exception. Several years ago, another journalist here in the D.C. area faced prosecution after it was discovered that he had images of child pornography on his laptop. As a defense, he claimed that he was investigating the world of underground child pornography for a story he was writing and that he should be entitled to a First Amendment defense. After several hearings and appeals, the defense was rejected and the journalist in question went to Federal Prison. In other words, you cannot violate the law in the practice of  journalism.

Could Gregory possibly use the First Amendment as a defense to what the Second Amendment ought to protect (though Gregory likely disagrees with that construction of the Second Amendment)? In other words, does his journalistic duty as a member of the press give him special protections against gun laws? Hell, if it does, every blogger living in D.C. should cite a 1st Amendment right to possess a 30-round clip.