An Oregon clergyman who spent $3,000 of his church’s “discretionary funds” on tickets to win an AR-15 rifle that was being raffled by a girls’ softball team may soon understand the downside of extremist gun control laws.
According to the Lake Oswego Review, the Rev. Jeremy Lucas of the Christ Church Episcopal Parish in Lake Oswego transferred the rifle he won to a parishioner without the state’s required background check on a private transfer. The newspaper reported that Oregon State Police are deciding whether to pursue charges against Lucas.
According to the Washington Post, Lucas bought 150 raffle tickets out of 499 available. His intention was to take one gun out of circulation.
But Oregon’s “universal background check” law, patterned after neighboring Washington’s law, which was passed by citizen initiative in 2014, requires background checks on every transfer, even private ones. Lucas passed a check when he picked up the rifle at a gun shop, but then he and his wife took it to a local parishioner, described as “a responsible gun owner” by Lucas in the Washington Post story. That may have been a violation of the law, a Class A misdemeanor that could land the clergyman in jail for up to a year and cost him up to $6,250 in fines, the Review reported.
The Lake Oswego Police Department reportedly “passed complaints” about the matter to the Oregon State Police.
This is the kind of unintended consequence Second Amendment activists warned about when they opposed the measures in both Washington and Oregon. The Rev. Lucas could become an object lesson about good intentions leading to a bad end.
The Review quoted Lucas, who explained that winning the raffle gun was “a small, symbolic act.”
“There are millions of guns, I know that,” he said. “But this gun will never be used to kill kids in schools, kill people in a movie theater, kill people at an office party or at any other place of mass shootings. This gun will never be found by a child who accidently shoots a friend. … It will never be stolen and used to commit a crime or used to threaten a family in a domestic violence situation.”
However, it may become the damning piece of evidence if charges are filed against Lucas.