An Episcopal priest who spent $3000 from his church discretionary fund to purchase an AR-15 will not be prosecuted for transferring the weapon without conducting a background check, the Clackamas County District Attorney said.
An Episcopal priest who spent $3000 from his church discretionary fund to purchase an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle as symbolic stand against gun violence, will not be prosecuted for transferring the weapon without conducting a background check, the Clackamas County District Attorney said.
In July the Rev. Jeremy Lucas, rector of Christ Church in Lake Oswego, purchased 150 raffle tickets sold by a girls softball team that offered as its prize an AR-15 rifle. Mr. Lucas spent $3000 from his discretionary fund and from offerings given by parishioners to help the girls team fund a trip to a California tournament and to take the weapon off the street.
He told The Review: “It’s a small, symbolic act. There are millions of guns, I know that. 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 accidentally 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.”
After winning the raffle, Mr. Lucas went to the gun dealer offering the weapon, and after passing the state background check took possession. He told local newspapers he took the rifle to the home of a friend for safe-keeping in his gun safe, until he could have rendered inoperative. Mr. Lucas’ claims prompted an investigation by the Oregon State Police for violating state laws that required his unnamed friend from taking possession of the rifle. Failure to follow these rules is a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of up to $6,250 and as much as a year in jail.
However investigators subsequently uncovered no evidence that Mr. Lucas actually did what he claimed to do and transfer the gun to a friend, Clackamas County District Attorney John S. Foote said in a letter to the Oregon State Police. In his 9 Sept 2016 letter, the District Attorney said: “Without the transferee in this case, I don’t think we could ever have a prosecutable case.” He added that the rector’s comments were “insufficient to prove that it happened.”