Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Unequal application

On December 23, 2012, a mere nine days after several Sandy Hook Elementary School students were senselessly gunned down, then Meet The Press moderator David Gregory took to the airwaves to demagogue the tragedy.

Gregory was asking National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre whether the NRA was willing to cede any ground on new gun legislation following the Dec. 14 elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

“Here is a magazine for ammunition that carries 30 bullets,” Gregory said on “Meet the Press,” holding it up. “Now isn’t it possible that if we got rid of these, if we replaced them and said, ‘Well, you could only have a magazine that carries five bullets or ten bullets,’ isn’t it just possible that we could reduce the carnage in a situation like Newtown?”
 NBCs David Gregory Holds Up Magazine for Ammunition on National TV | D.C. Gun Law

This display by Gregory caught the attention of those who are familiar with Washnigton, D.C.'s insufferable gun control statutes.

As blog The Patriot Perspective pointed out, Gregory’s demonstration may itself have been a violation of existing D.C. gun law, where “Meet the Press” tapes.

“No person in the District shall possess, sell, or transfer any large capacity ammunition feeding device regardless of whether the device is attached to a firearm. A ‘large capacity ammunition feeding device’ means a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device that has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition,” D.C. code states. Violations may include a $1,000 fine or imprisonment for up to a year.

Almost three weeks after the incident, the D.C. Attorney General declined to prosecute Gregory.

In a letter to NBC, Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan admonished Gregory for knowingly flouting the law, but Nathan said he decided to exercise “prosecutorial discretion” and not pursue a criminal case. “Prosecution would not promote public safety in the District of Columbia, nor serve the best interests of the people,” Nathan wrote.

Yes, I believe it would have been ludicrous to have prosecuted Gregory to fullest extent of the law. But the question many folks seemed to have is if it wasn't some Beltway elitist waving around an empty ammo magazine, would he/she have been given the same courtesy as Gregory? Highly unlikely.

Not satisfied with AG Nathan's explanation, the folks at the website Legal Insurrection opted to file a Freedom of Information Act claim in May 2013, citing an effort to "obtain documents regarding David Gregory’s violation of the District of Columbia gun laws and the investigation which led to the decision of the District of Columbia Attorney General not to prosecute."

Nearly a year and a half after filing the FOIA claim, Judicial Watch, the organization representing LI in this case, announced this week that LI had won its suit (Read the press release here).

Part of the documentation released was the January 7, 2013 affidavit filing seeking Gregory's arrest. It was four days later when Nathan announced he would not be moving forward with the case. Why? Speculation abounds. But what has been ascertained is that MTP officials inquired about using high capacity magazines on the 12/23/2012 show and were specifically told such items were illegal, even if empty. Nevertheless, Gregory trotted it out that Sunday. It was almost as if he knew he would not be prosecuted. Huh.


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