In a nearly forgotten controversy David Gregory, then host of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” appeared on TV waving a 30-round ammunition magazine from the network’s District of Columbia studio.
Gregory was aggressively interviewing the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre in December 2012, asking if it might be a good idea to ban the high-capacity magazines.
His prop, ironically, violated a District of Columbia law making it illegal to possess an ammunition magazine – even an empty one – that holds more than 10 bullets.
Gregory was never arrested or charged with the crime, which carries up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000, but an affidavit released Friday shows that’s exactly what local police recommended.
Wayne Gerrish, a Washington Metropolitan Police Department detective, wrote in the affidavit the snafu was no accident, and requested an arrest warrant.
NBC staff contacted police before the episode to share their plans and ask about the legality of showing the magazine, the affidavit says. Two emailed responses explained doing so would violate the law. One of the emails recommended using a photo instead.
Many gun rights advocates were giddy to learn Gregory had violated the District’s gun laws. Though some salivated at the prospect of a suspected gun control sympathizer heading to jail for violating gun control laws, others said he should not be prosecuted.
In January 2013 the District’s attorney general, Irvin Nathan, decided not to bring charges against Gregory, despite what he called “the gravity of the illegal conduct in this matter.” At the time city officials would not say if detectives had endorsed bringing charges.
The blog Legal Insurrection promptly filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the detective’s affidavit. Judicial Watch, a conservative government transparency group, filed a lawsuit on behalf of the blog in May 2013.
“It is no wonder the District government covered up its special favor for NBC News and David Gregory for two years,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement Friday. “Liberals in the District seem to think that they should be immune from the absurd and constitutionally suspect gun laws they like and want enforced.”
William Jacobsen, who runs Legal Insurrection, said in a statement the document release was a win for transparency, and that he doesn’t believe what Gregory did should be a crime. On his blog, he previously wrote: “The non-prosecution of David Gregory was a testament to the double standard for justice in the District of Columbia, one for the rich and powerful, another for the rest of us.”
Gregory left “Meet the Press” amid poor ratings in August and since then has kept a low profile. U.S. News could not reach him for comment. His Facebook page directs questions to a website apparently unaffiliated with him.
NBC press representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Source: US News & World Report