'Meet the Press' host David Gregory displayed 30-round ammunition magazine while interviewing National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre in December, after the Newtown, Conn., school massacre.(Photo: NBC/AP Graphics)
Michael Winter, USA TODAY
NBC's David Gregory won't be charged for displaying a high-capacity ammunition clip on Meet the Press in December, the District of Columbia's top prosecutor said Friday.
In a letter to NBC, which The Washington Post reported, D.C. Attorney General Irvin Nathan wrote that although the magazine "meets the definition" of the criminal statute, prosecuting him "would not promote public safety in the District of Columbia nor serve the best interests of the people of the District to whom this office owes its trust."
But Nathan did say that Gregory could have used other methods to make his point.
D.C. police forwarded their investigation to Nathan three days ago, but it has not been made public.
Possessing an ammunition magazine that can hold 10 or more rounds, even if empty, is a misdemeanor in D.C. Conviction can result in a $1,000 fine or up to a year in jail.
In a statement later, NBC News said:
"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."
The Post posted Nathan's three-page letter, which says, in part:
We have a history of aggressively prosecuting violations of this statute where the circumstances warrant. There is no doubt of the gravity of the illegal conduct in this matter, especially in a city and a nation that have been plagued by carnage from gun violence. Of course, the recent tragic, heart-breaking events, particularly at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, which appear to have led to the program in question, also underscore our belief in the vigorous enforcement of such laws.
Having carefully reviewed all of the facts and circumstances of this matter, as it does in every case involving firearms-related offenses or any other potential violation of D.C. law within our criminal jurisdiction, OAG has determined to exercise its prosecutorial discretion to decline to bring criminal charges against Mr. Gregory, who has no criminal record, or any other NBC employee based on the events associated with the December 23, 2012 broadcast.
Gregory displayed the empty 30-round clip and a five-to-10-round magazine while interviewing the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre.