The Washington, D.C. attorney general won’t prosecute NBC’s David Gregory for holding up a high-capacity ammunition magazine on national television, the office announced Friday.
“[The office of the attorney general] has determined to exercise its prosecutorial discretion to decline to bring criminal charges against Mr. Gregory, who has no criminal record, or any other NBC employee based on the events associated with the December 23, 2012 broadcast,” D.C. Attorney General Irvin Nathan wrote in a letter to NBC attorney Lee Levine provided to TheBlaze.
“OAG has made this determination, despite the clarity of the violation of this important law, because 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,” the letter stated.
Nathan described it as a “very close decision” and not one the office came to “lightly or easily.”
Gregory held up what he said was a magazine able to carry 30 bullets during a “Meet the Press” interview with National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre following the Newtown, Conn. elementary school massacre. In Washington, D.C., where “Meet the Press” tapes, it is illegal to possess a magazine capable of holding 10 or more rounds of ammunition.
Nathan noted that NBC was “clearly and timely advised” by D.C. police that “its plans to exhibit on the broadcast a high-capacity magazine would violate D.C. law.”
He acknowledged that the context of Gregory’s actions influenced the decision not to prosecute.
“Influencing our judgment in this case, among other things, is our recognition 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,” Nathan said. “There were, however, other legal means available to demonstrate the point and to pursue this line of questioning with the guest that were suggested to NBC and that could have and should have been pursued.”
He cautioned that “repetition by NBC or any employee of any similar or other firearms violation will be prosecuted to the full extent supported by the facts and the law.”
This post has been updated.