An Oregon pastor and anti-gun activist thought he’d make a statement when he entered a raffle to win an AR-15. Instead, he could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, including a $6250 fine and up to a year in jail for accidentally running afoul of a firearms-related law passed just last year.
Jeremy Lucas, rector of Christ Church Episcopal Parish in Lake Oswego, Oregon, spent $3,000 from his church’s discretionary fund to purchase 150 raffle tickets to win the gun. His intent was to take it out of circulation and turn it into a piece of art.
But Lucas — who has a law degree from Birmingham Law School — inadvertently broke the state’s universal background check law after he and his wife drove to a parishioner’s home and handed the Ar-15 to what he referred to as a “responsible gun owner” for safekeeping until he could destroy the rifle.
For that transfer of possession to be legal under Oregon law, the parishioner should have undergone a background check at a licensed gun dealer while Lucas was present, according to the Portland Tribune.
Pro-gun activists — including the Oregon Firearms Federation — had testified against the law’s passing and were quick to point out Lucas’ alleged violation to law enforcement. OFF Executive Director Kevin Starrett wrote a letter to the Oregon State Police, the Lake Oswego Police Department and 30 state lawmakers requesting an investigation.
“If the pastor is prosecuted, it will demonstrate the idiocy of the law and the people who passed it,” Starrett stated on Wednesday. “If the pastor is not prosecuted, it will demonstrate that anti-gun liberals are above the law and it was only intended to hurt the average gun owner, against whom it could be selectively enforced.”
According to the somewhat convoluted law, checks aren’t required when firearms are passed between family members or to law enforcement, reports Guns.com. “There is also a category of temporary transfers to someone the owner has no reason to be a prohibited person for the purpose of hunting, repair of the gun, or shooting the gun at a range. There is also a provision that allows a temporary transfer to prevent “imminent death or serious physical injury,” presumably if the owner is incapacitated in some way.” None of these exceptions appears to apply in this case, leaving the anti-gun pastor caught in the crosshairs of the very law he supported.
The Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office said it won’t decide whether to pursue criminal charges until it receives the results of an Oregon State Police investigation into the matter.
h/t: PJ Media