"Meet the Press" Host Won't Be Charged for Showing Gun Magazine

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    NEWSLETTERS

    David Gregory on the Dec. 23, 2012 "Meet the Press"

    D.C.'s attorney general has said he will not charge "Meet the Press" host David Gregory for showing a high-capacity ammunition magazine on the air.

    Owning a gun or owning a high-capacity magazine - whether it's loaded or attached to a gun, or not - is illegal in the district.

    But during a Dec. 23 interview with National Rifle Association leader Wayne LaPierre, Gregory displayed a magazine capable of holding up to 30 rounds of ammunition, as well as a small-capacity magazine.

    Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan said in a letter released to the media that prosecutors recognized that the intent of the segment was to "promote the First Amendment purpose of informing an ongoing public debate about firearms policy."

    But the letter also points out that there were "other legal means" that could have been used to make that point - and that authorities suggested those means to NBC.

    In the letter, Nathan said prosecutors did not base their decision on what Nathan called "feeble and unsatisfactory efforts" by NBC to check on the legality of displaying a high-capacity magazine on the air.

    "Although there appears to have been some misinformation provided initially, NBC was clearly and timely advised by an MPD employee that its plans to exhibit on the broadcast a high capacity-magazine would violate D.C. law, and there was no contrary advice from any federal official," the letter reads.

    The letter concludes with a warning: "NBC should be made aware that OAG's decision not to press charges in this matter was a very close decision and not one to which it came lightly or easily. Accordingly, NBC and its employees should take meticulous care in the future to ensure that it is in full compliance with D.C. law whether its actions involve firearms or any other potential violation."

    This afternoon, Meet the Press issued the following statement in reply:

    “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.”