The decision over whether or not to charge NBC’s David Gregory for allegedly breaking Washington D.C.’s strict gun-banning laws on a December 23 broadcast of Meet the Press is now in the hands of the D.C. Attorney General, authorities reported Tuesday.
The D.C. Police kicked the case upstairs, pushing the investigation into a new phase. Chief Cathy Lanier released an email that said, in part, that her department had “completed the investigation into this matter, and the case has been presented to the OAG for a determination of the prosecutorial merit of the case.”
The case is now in the hands of Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan, who’s office oversees prosecutions of “low-level offenses.” A spokesman for the office said they would not comment until their decision had been made.
Gregory allegedly broke D.C.’s strict laws during a broadcast of Meet the Press when he brandished on the air, in NBC’s Washington-based studios, a 30-round rifle magazine. Mere possession of such a device is illegal in D.C.
The question isn’t really whether D.C.’s gun-banning laws are good and right, but whether David Gregory is going to be treated like anyone else accused of breaking the law would be treated. Right or wrong, the fact is, the laws are on the books.
For instance, will Gregory be treated like James Brinkley was in 2012? Brinkley was arrested for violating D.C.’s strict gun-banning laws when police found an empty, large capacity pistol magazine in his car as he was on his way to a training session for the U.S. Marshals service. Brinkley was arrested, charged with the crime, and spent months trying to clear his name and save his new job as a U.S. Marshal.
Why should David Gregory be treated any differently than a man who was in training for the U.S. Marshals service? Will the rule of law apply to all equally in Washington D.C.?
In their defense, NBC staffers have said that they asked both D.C. police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms if they could legally use the 30-round magazine as a prop on the show. D.C. Police say they told NBC it would not be legal, but NBC reports that the BATF told them that using the device as a prop would not break any laws.
The law in question is titled: DC High Capacity Ammunition Magazines – D.C. Official Code 7-2506.01, and reads (emphasis added):
(b) No person in the District shall possess, sell, or transfer any large capacity ammunition feeding device regardless of whether the device is attached to a firearm. For the purposes of this subsection, the term large capacity ammunition feeding device means a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device that has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition. The term large capacity ammunition feeding device shall not include an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.