A preliminary hearing for Ronald William Prestage that was originally scheduled for August 13 was postponed until September 10. Prestage, 59, the president of Prestage Farms of South Carolina and president-elect of National Pork Producers Council, was arrested July 23 on suspicion of trying to enter the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C., with a loaded firearm.

The pork and turkey company executive was charged with carrying a pistol outside his home or business, which is a felony in Washington, D.C. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Court documents state the prosecution and the defense are continuing their negotiations, according to a Roll Call blog, suggesting a possible plea bargain.


Prestage holds a concealed-carry permit in his home state of South Carolina, but concealed-carry permits are not issued in Washington, D.C., and open carry there is prohibited.

Prestage was searched as a matter of routine as he entered the federal building, and an officer allegedly found a loaded 9-millimeter Ruger handgun in his bag. Prestage was believed to have been on his way to meet with members of South Carolina’s congressional delegation.

Prestage Farms has pork and turkey operations in North Carolina, South Carolina, Iowa, Oklahoma and Mississippi.