But whether or not Gregory is charged with a crime, opponents of gun control see the episode as further evidence that the cards are stacked against them in the US media, which they see as part of an urban power elite.
In addition to the Gregory incident, a New York newspaper stirred outrage this week by publishing the names and addresses of local gun owners, while a petition on a White House website is calling for deportation proceedings to begin against CNN’s British talk show host Piers Morgan, who has made gun-control activism a cause célèbre in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., shootings.
On Gregory’s behalf, many say he was simply committing “an act of journalism” protected by the First Amendment: providing viewers with a powerful and relevant image.
Yet the idea that a reporter could potentially get away with something that could land an average American in jail for the night, at least, plays into what gun owners say has become a one-sided, and thus largely unproductive, debate.
It is also fueling the perception by some gun owners of a divide between them and an urban elite, which has become all the more pointed in the wake of the Newtown school massacre of 20 small children and six staff, the result of which has been renewed calls to ban assault rifles and high-capacity magazines of the kind Gregory displayed on air.