The anti-gun pastor who spent $3,000 to make sure he would win the a softball team’s raffle of an AR-15 rifle to have “one less gun in the world” is in hot water with police.
Rev. Jeremy Lucas spent $3,000 of his church’s discretionary fund – normally earmarked for helping parishioners pay their rent or utility bills – to buy 150 tickets in a raffle by a local softball team after hearing that the team was using the AR-15 raffle to pay for their trip to the West Regional Tournament in California.
“I think it sends very mixed messages,” Lucas told The Washington Post. “On the one hand to have kids go through active shooter drills (at school), and at the same time raffle off rifles that are used in so many of these mass shootings.”
He said he felt compelled to act as a Christian, a father, and a church leader: “I decided one day I was going to try to stop the raffle.”
His plan was to buy all of the remaining tickets, win the rifle and have it destroyed.
Girls softball team raffles off an AR-15. "This is still America, where I believe we are free to pursue our own joy."https://t.co/TUnfk3CHLh
— Willamette Week (@wweek) July 11, 2016
“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.”
After winning the raffle, the owner of the rifle met Rev. Lucas and his wife at a gun store to complete the background check required of any and all transfers inside the state of Oregon. The transfer took about 30 minutes, something Lucas found disturbing.
“I was pretty surprised at how easy it was to get this transfer made,” he said. “How quick it was to walk in and out of a gun shop with an AR-15.”
The Reverend told The Washington Post that he and his wife then brought the rifle to the home of a parishioner who would keep the rifle in his safe until they could have it destroyed. And that’s where police are now looking into a crime.
By not performing a background check when leaving the rifle with his congregation member, Lucas violated the very gun control laws he claims are too lax in the nation. His local police department has turned the case over to the Oregon State Police and they are currently deciding whether to file charges.
Lucas said he was surprised to learn of the investigation.
“I will cooperate with any investigation that the Oregon State Police wants to have,” he told The Review. “Anything that furthers the conversation about our gun laws in the state of Oregon, I’m happy that that would happen.”
Kevin Starrett, Executive Director of the Oregon Firearms Federation wrote a letter to the OSP, the Lake Oswego Police Department and 30 state lawmakers, pointing out the clear violation of the law.
“If the pastor is prosecuted, it will demonstrate the idiocy of the law and the people who passed it,” Starrett said. “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.”
Nationally syndicated conservative talk-show host Lars Larson also weighed in with a letter to Lake Oswego City Council members, saying the purchase may meet the criteria of a “straw purchase” under federal law, a crime that carries a 10 year mandatory prison sentence.