Washington DC officials have announced that “Meet the Press” host will not be charged with possession of a high capacity gun magazine, shown in a post-Newtown interview with the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre last month, even though it was an apparent violation of city law.
According to the Associated Press, D.C. attorney general Irvin Nathan wrote that “influencing our judgment in this case, among other things, is our recognition that the intent of the temporary possession and short display of the magazine was to promote the First Amendment purpose of informing an ongoing public debate about firearms policy in the United States, especially while this subject was foremost in the minds of the public.”
Nathan, however, said that it was a “very close decision” not to bring charges, but also admonished the show and suggested that their point could have been made in other ways.
According to the AP, D.C. police say NBC asked for permission to use the clip during a segment and was advised that it would be illegal, though NBC has said it received conflicting guidance from other law enforcement sources.
Police began investigating after the program aired and recently referred its findings to the attorney general’s office.
“Meet the Press” issued a statement Friday that said: “We displayed the empty magazine solely for journalistic purposes to help illuminate 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.”