DC Prosecutor Prosecutes Troops and Veterans on Gun Laws – Lets David Gregory Off
If you are a big-shot journalist and liberal-leaning TV personality, the District of Attorney issues you a get-out-of-jail free card. If you’re a wounded warrior or veteran, not so much.
David Gregory hosts Meet the Press, a Sunday news and issues talk show that airs on NBC. In the wake of the Newtown school massacre last month, Gregory interviewed Wayne LaPierre, the head of the National Rifle Association, on camera. During the course of the interview, in which Gregory attacked LaPierre’s suggestion that we take steps to provide schools with armed security or allow teachers to carry weapons, Gregory produced a 30 round AR-15 or M-16 magazine and waived it around on camera.
In so doing, Gregory, whose own children attend a Quaker school protected by armed guards, was committing a crime: The mere possession of high-capacity magazines within the District of Columbia is a misdemeanor, punishable by a $1,000 fine, or up to 1 year in prison.
The Washington D.C. Metro Police Department investigated the alleged violation, and found that the violation of the law was clear. They then referred the matter to Washington D.C.’s Attorney General, Irvin B. Nathan – who evoked prosecutorial discretion and declined to take Gregory to court.
Nathan’s opinion: Gregory didn’t really pose a threat.
Here is the statement, issued at close of business on a Friday, from the Office of the Attorney General:
“OAG has made this determination, despite the clarity of the violation of this important law, because under all of the circumstances here a prosecution 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.”
Unfortunately for the rest of us, people who don’t have high-profile TV shows and don’t send their kids to school with the President don’t get the same leeway from the District of Columbia.
David Gregory’s wife Beth Wilkinson poses with family friend D.C. Attorney General Irvin Nathan at a theater fundraiser in 2011.
SPC Adam Meckler
SPC Adam Meckler, an Army medic, hadn’t been off of active duty for a month when he was handcuffed, arrested, and frogmarched off to jail by Washington D.C. police. Why? He was going through a security checkpoint at the VFW, according to the Washington Times, and the X-Ray identified a few forgotten rounds of ammunition in his medic bag he had used on countless shooting ranges.
No weapon – just the ammunition.
The Washington D.C. Attorney General considers a medic and veteran a threat, and is vigorously prosecuting him, but not David Gregory.
From the Washington Times story:
The federal police officer asked Spc. Meckler if he knew that ammunition was illegal in the District. He said he did not. The officer replied that it was and began to read his Miranda Rights. Spc. Meckler said he interrupted to ask, “Am I really going to be arrested for this?’” The officer confirmed he was.
The D.C. attorney general’s spokesman, Ted Gest, told me that prosecution for unregistered ammunition is “common.”
Ultimately, Meckler – who didn’t have money or connections like David Gregory, pled guilty to one count of possession of unregistered ammunition. He got 30 days unsupervised probation, paid a $100 fine and was forced to make another $100 “donation” to a fund for victims of violent crime.
According to the Washington Times reporting, Meckler’s case wasn’t unusual: “There were 594 arrests for unregistered ammunition in 2011, according to MPD, but of those, only 64 of those were the top charge.”
The “top charge” means that the possession of the unregistered ammunition was the most serious offense these citizens were accused of.
That’s 64 Americans that didn’t receive the benefit of prosecutorial discretion from the AG.
Only one of them sends his kids to school with the President’s to our knowledge: David Gregory.
Additionally, at least 115 people were arrested in Washington D.C. for possession of an unregistered magazine. The Attorney General prosecuted 15 of them.
The Attorney General’s office even brags that they have a history of “aggressively prosecuting” the possession of magazines with capacities greater than ten rounds when circumstances warrant.
Lt. Augustine Kim
Augustine Kim, a lieutenant in the South Carolina National Guard is another veteran who was prosecuted for violating gun laws in Washington, D.C. He also doesn’t send his children to school with the Obamas. He was wounded in combat while serving as a tank platoon leader, and had to spend weeks at Landstuhl and at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C. for reconstructive surgery on his face.
In the summer of 2010, after getting discharged from Walter Reed, he wanted to pick up some of his personally-owned weapons at his parents’ home in New Jersey and take them back to Charleston, South Carolina.
On the way back south, he wanted to stop at Walter Reed again to visit some of his wounded buddies. His firearms were stowed in the trunk, inaccessible, in accordance with federal firearms transportation guidelines.
Washington D.C. Metro Police officers stopped him and asked to search his vehicle. Kim consented to the search, thinking he was innocent. The District of Columbia sees this wounded warrior as a criminal. Not David Gregory. Lieutenant Kim. And treated him as such.
His attorney was able to convince prosecutors to reduce charges, allowing him to plead guilty to one misdemeanor. However, South Carolina congressmen had to browbeat District of Columbia officials for months to get them to return Kim’s firearms to him.
The Washington Times also details the case of James Brinkley, another Army veteran who was arrested and charged in Washington D.C., specifically for possession of high-capacity magazines – the exact same thing Gregory was doing on camera (I keep citing the Washington Times because The Washington Post is AWOL on these stories).
From the Washington Times:
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.
No word yet on where Mr. Brinkley’s children go to school. But we’re betting it’s not Sidwell Friends.
Brinkley chose to go to trial – where he won. All the firearms charges were dropped, and all the DC Metro Police had on him at the end of it was a traffic ticket.
Jamison Koehler, a defense attorney who takes firearms cases in the District of Columbia, relates a case here of a severely wounded veteran who was sentenced to six months’ probation for possession of an unregistered firearm and possession of unregistered ammunition in his own home.
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