NBC’s David Gregory Won’t Face Charges for Ammo

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 12 2013 2:00 PM

NBC’s David Gregory Won’t Face Charges for Displaying Ammo Clip on TV

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NBC's David Gregory holds up an empty high-capacity magazine during an interview with NRA chief Wayne LaPierre

Screengram from Meet the Press video

Surely disappointing several gun-rights advocates, NBC’s David Gregory won’t face jail time for displaying an empty ammunition magazine during a Dec. 23 Meet the Press interview with NRA chief Wayne LaPierre. In a letter sent to NBC Friday, Washington, D.C. Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan emphasized “the gravity of the illegal conduct” but noted  that “prosecution would not promote public safety in the District of Columbia, nor serve the best interests of the people,” reports the Washington Post.  Nathan also wrote his office recognizes “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.” Read the full letter here.

After Gregory brandished the 30-round ammunition magazine during the interview, several viewers wrote to local police demanding that Gregory be arrested, noting that owning such a high-capacity magazine is illegal in the District, even if it’s empty. As Slatest pointed out at the time, conservatives and gun-rights advocates “pretty much demanded police take action,” saying anyone else would face prosecution. Watch the portion of the interview that began the controversy after the jump.

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In a statement to Politico NBC said it respects the decision as well as the criticism from the attorney general:

“We displayed the empty magazine solely for journalistic purposes to help illustrate an important issue for our viewers. We accept the District of Columbia Attorney General’s admonishment, respect his decision and will have no further comment on this matter.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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