Government & Constitution

Released docs portray DC’s special treatment of Gregory’s 30-round magazine stunt

Released docs portray DC's special treatment of Gregory's 30-round magazine stunt

The conservative website Legal Insurrection received documents from the District of Columbia detailing the preferential treatment given David Gregory, the then-host of the NBC News “Meet the Press” program, who held an illegal ammunition magazine in the show’s Washington studio.

“What surprised me, was that NBC having been warned, nonetheless went ahead and used or possessed the illegal magazine,” said Professor William A. Jacobson, a leading contributor at Legal Insurrection, and the director of Cornell Law School’s Securities Law Clinic, in an exclusive interview with Guns & Patriots.

District of Columbia’s then Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan declined to prosecute Gregory.

Before the Dec. 23, 2012 broadcast—less than two weeks after the spree-shooting at Newtown, Connecticut—NBC employees traded emails with the Metropolitan Police asking if they were allowed to use an actual outlawed magazine, he said.

Gregory waved the magazine in the face of National Rifle Association Executive Director Wayne LaPierre, while taunting him about the deaths at Newtown.

NBC was told flat out they could not bring such a magazine into the District of  Columbia and they suggested using a theatrical prop, he said.

“I have no idea from these e-mails whether David Gregory himself was aware of the Metropolitan Police warning,” he said. “But there certainly were producers, and other individuals at MBC who are aware of it.”

Jacobson said he requested the documents from the District of Columbia, supported by Judicial Watch, the Washington-based watchdog, which functions as a activist law firm for conservative causes and candidates.

Legal Insurrection filed the original Freedom of Information Act requests, and once the district’s office of attorney general started slow-walking the request, Judicial Watch filed court motions the compel compliance.

“I served the FOIA request on my very early own,” he said, “It wasn’t until they objected, they helped themselves to the statutory extension, and then they objected that Judicial Watch became involved.” NBC ignored all attempts by Jacobson to get their comment or insight into the incident.

The law professor said sought the internal communications between NBC and the district regarding the Dec. 23, 2012 stunt because the 30-round magazine is both illegal in the district’s municipal ordinances and because the district has been otherwise absolutist in its enforcement of its rules against guns, ammunition and gun-related accessories.

“The DC prosecuting office is very aggressive in how it treats gun law violations,” he said.

“Nonetheless on a televised clear violation of the law, after a warning by the police not to do it, did not bring a prosecution against anybody,” he said.

In fact, it was a violation of the district’s laws witnessed live by millions of Americans and as a video on the Internet, he said.

“Yet, the prosecuting office chose to ignore a willful violation of the law, and that’s what I found shocking, considering there are many cases, where there have been mistaken violations of the law, that they’ve prosecuted,” the graduate of Hamilton College and Harvard Law School said.

“Now I think you could make an argument, that it’s a stupid law. That’s a different argument, that’s not an argument, that’s not as legal defense I don’t understand how the prosecutor’s office can be so aggressive with everybody else,” he said. “When a high profile celebrity, and a high profile news entity, violates the law, decides not to prosecute, and that’s what I think is the overarching story here, these DC gun laws, are so draconian, that if they actually had to be enforced against powerful people, perhaps the laws would get changed.”

Jacobson said the most egregious case of the district’s persecution of gun owners involved Adam Meckler, an Army combat medic veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that was chronicled by reporter Emily Miller.

The veteran was in Washington collecting medical records and was discovered with a dozen rounds in his bag.

By federal law, individuals with illegal guns, ammunition or accessories are allowed to travel through the district, but if they stop for any reason, they have broken the law, he said.

The veteran was arrested at once and is still looking at a trial, he said. “That was a non-intentional violation of the law, and here they had, an intentional violation of the law, after a warning not to do it.”


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