D.C. Attorney General declines to prosecute David Gregory for mag display on "Meet the Press."—
(@ErikWemple) January 11, 2013
We don’t imagine anyone’s surprised to learn that NBC’s David Gregory will not face prosecution for waving a banned high-capacity magazine during a broadcast of “Meet the Press.” In a letter, Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan said that prosecution of Gregory would neither “promote public safety” in Washington nor serve the best interests of D.C.’s citizens.
However, Nathan also noted that NBC’s effort to determine if the stunt was indeed legal (it wasn’t) was “feeble and unsatisfactory.” In other words, the law banning possession of the magazine was clear, but the network didn’t bother complying — the prop was necessary to push for the passage of more gun laws, after all.
No, of course we didn’t. That would involve enforcing the law. Besides, this is David Gregory.
Mattress tag, huh? So the magazine is such a dangerous tool of mass destruction that Gregory felt he needed to confront the NRA with it on air. The fact that he had it? No big deal. It’s not a gun or anything. But we need to ban them, now. Clear?
* * *
The full text of Attorney General Nathan’s letter is available online. Gregory’s intent, it seems, was a major factor in letting him get away with breaking the law.
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, especially while this subject was foremost in the minds of the public following the previously mentioned events in Connecticut and the President’s speech to the nation about them. 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.
Wait, veterans are prosecuted for breaking similar gun bans? Yes, yes they are.
* * *
Legal Insurrection has done some digging and uncovered an interesting connection. David Gregory’s wife, Beth Wilkinson, appeared together in 2011 in the Shakespeare Theatre Mock Trial with Nathan.