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Lake Oswego pastor may face charges for gun transfer

Rev. Lucas won a Gresham softball team's rifle raffle -

PMG FILE PHOTO - The Lake Oswego Police Department has passed the case to the Oregon State Police, who could move ahead with an investigation.The Lake Oswego pastor who won a Gresham softball team’s rifle raffle may have violated state law after he stored the AR-15 in another churchgoer’s gun safe.

The Rev. Jeremy Lucas told the Washington Post that — after clearing a background check and taking possession of the weapon — he and his wife “drove it to the home of a parishioner, a ‘responsible gun owner,’... who offered to keep the rifle locked up in a gun safe until the pastor is ready to destroy it.”

For that transfer of possession to be legal under Oregon law, the Christ Church Episcopal parishioner should have undergone a background check at a licensed gun dealer while Lucas was present. If that did not happen, Lucas may have committed a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of up to $6,250 and as much as a year in jail.

Lake Oswego Police Chief Don Johnson said that after an initial "query," the LOPD has passed complaints about Lucas to the Oregon State Police, which is responsible for deciding whether to conduct an investigation into accusations that the Oregon Firearms Safety Act was violated.

"I have discussed the matter with the Oregon State Police and am coordinating follow-up with that agency," Johnson said, adding that "neither the Lake Oswego Police Department nor the Oregon State Police can comment on ongoing queries of this nature."

Johnson said it was up to the Oregon State Police to decide whether to conduct its own investigation or defer to another agency. He did not say how long a state investigation would take, and attempts to reach the OSP on Sunday were unsuccessful.

Lucas spent $3,000 from a church discretionary fund and member donations to buy 150 tickets in the District 2 Big League Softball Team raffle. He said he had two goals: to help the girls team get to a California tournament and to take the weapon out of circulation.

Lucas won the raffle, and told the Pamplin Media Group last week that he plans to transform the assault rifle into a piece of art. On Monday, he said he was surprised to learn of the investigation.

“I will cooperate with any investigation that the Oregon State Police wants to have,” he said. “Anything that furthers the conversation about our gun laws in the state of Oregon, I’m happy that that would happen.”

Outlook reporter Zane Sparling contributed to this story.