The Washington, D.C. police department has completed its investigation of David Gregory and has presented his case to the District’s Office of the Attorney General for “a determination of the prosecutorial merit of the case.” Gregory, it will be recalled, was in possession of a high-capacity ammunition magazine which he displayed on television. In Washington, D.C., possessing a magazine capable of holding 10 or more rounds of ammunition, even if empty, is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
I don’t know much about D.C. criminal procedure, but I assume the police found reason to believe that Gregory violated the law; otherwise I doubt it would have “presented” his case. Now it is up to the D.C. Attorney General, Irving Nathan, to determine whether to prosecute. This decision, I imagine, will entail a review of the evidence presented and, perhaps, some exercise of prosecutorial discretion.
I tend to agree with NRA President David Keene, who told CNN he did not think Gregory should be prosecuted because the portion of the law he violated is silly. However, the D.C. police reportedly told NBC in advance that it would violate the law to show the magazine. If so, and assuming the police offered no conflicting opinion, the ensuing violation seems willful and flagrant, making it difficult not prosecute, I should think.
JOHN adds: The DC authorities have been aggressive, in the past, about prosecuting violations of the law that Gregory broke. The Washington Times reports that in 2012 alone, 105 individuals were arrested in DC for possessing too big a magazine, including U.S. Army veteran James Brinkley:
On Sept. 8, Mr. Brinkley says he intended to drop his wife and young children at the White House for a tour and then head to a shooting range to practice for the U.S. Marshals Service test. Just like Mr. Gregory, Mr. Brinkley called MPD in advance for guidance on how he could do this legally. Mr. Brinkley was told that the gun had to be unloaded and locked in the trunk, and he couldn’t park the car and walk around.
Unlike Mr. Gregory, Mr. Brinkley followed the police orders by placing his Glock 22 in a box with a big padlock in the trunk of his Dodge Charger. The two ordinary, 15-round magazines were not in the gun, and he did not have any ammunition with him.
As he was dropping off his family at 11 a.m. on the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue, Mr. Brinkley stopped to ask a Secret Service officer whether his wife could take the baby’s car seat into the White House. The officer saw Mr. Brinkley had an empty holster, which kicked off a traffic stop that ended in a search of the Charger’s trunk. Mr. Brinkley was booked on two counts of “high capacity” magazine possession (these are ordinary magazines nearly everywhere else in the country) and one count of possessing an unregistered gun.
Despite the evidence Mr. Brinkley had been legally transporting the gun, his attorney Richard Gardiner said the D.C. Office of the Attorney General “wouldn’t drop it.” This is the same office now showing apparent reluctance to charge Mr. Gregory.
Mr. Brinkley refused to take a plea bargain and admit guilt, so the matter went to trial Dec. 4. The judge sided with Mr. Brinkley, saying he had met the burden of proof that he was legally transporting. Mr. Brinkley was found not guilty on all firearms-related charges, including for the “high-capacity” magazines, and he was left with a $50 traffic ticket.
I personally own two “high capacity magazines.” This is an incredibly stupid law, notwithstanding the fact that the Democrats want to enact it nationally, but if DC police and prosecutors are going to enforce it against others, how can they not enforce it against David Gregory?