Jan 13, 2013

No Gun Charge Against Meet the Press Host

In a letter to NBC's lawyers, District of Columbia Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan announced that while the exhibition of an empty magazine capable of holding up to 30 rounds of ammunition by "Meet the Press" host David Gregory was illegal under the District's gun control laws, his office "has determined to exercise its prosecutorial discretion to decline to bring criminal charges against Mr. Gregory ... ."

Gregory displayed the magazine, as well as a smaller one capable of holding 10 rounds, during a "Meet the Press" interview on Dec. 23 with National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre.

"Here is a magazine for ammunition that carries 30 bullets," Gregory said while displaying the magazine. "Now isn't it possible that if we got rid of these. If we replaced them and said you can only have magazine that carries five bullets or 10 bullets, isn't it just possible that we could reduce the carnage in a situation like Newtown?"

The show was broadcast from NBC's Washington, D.C. studios. District law (D.C. Stat. § 7-2506.019(b)) bans "large capacity ammunition feeding device[s]" that accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Reports of the display -- fed in large part by Second Amendment advocates -- were sent to the District of Columbia police department, which investigated and forwarded the case to Nathan's office.

While concluding "[t]here is no doubt of the gravity of the illegal conduct in this matter, especially in a city and a nation that have been plagued by carnage from gun violence," Nathan wrote in the letter that "under all of the circumstances here a prosecution would not promote public safety in the District of Columbia nor serve the best interests of the people of the District to whom this office owes its trust."

Nathan also wrote that his office recognized that "the intent of the temporary possession and short display of the magazine was to promote the First Amendment purpose of informing an ongoing public debate about firearms policy in the United States."

And that debate goes on, with Second Amendment advocates upset at Nathan's decision.


Eric P. Robinson said...

The Legal Insurrection web site has obtained (through a freedom of information lawsuit) the police affidavit in support of arresting Gregory over this incident. Despite the affidavit, Gregory was never arrested and, as described in the post above. District of Columbia Attorney General Irvin Nathan decided not to pursue the case.

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