Jordan Candler / September 22, 2016

Prosecutorial Bias in Oregon Gun Case

An anti-gun activist pastor who broke the law is off the hook.

Last month we told you about Jeremy Lucas, an Oregon reverend who saw it as his mission to ensure an AR-15 being raffled off by a girls’ softball team was melted down — ostensibly so it would “never be used to kill kids in schools, kill people in a movie theater, kill people at an office party or any other place of mass shootings.” There was just one problem with how Rev. Lucas set his crusade into motion.

We wrote: “As news of the ‘heroic’ anti-gun pastor broke, one seemingly insignificant detail started to make the rounds. Did the pastor break the law? You see, the state of Oregon has a gun law on the books that strictly forbids ‘straw’ purchases. The parishioner who received the gun from the pastor had not received a background check and therefore was possibly in violation of the law.”

The investigation is now closed, and Lucas is awaiting a harsh sentence, possibly behind bars, right? Wrong. According to The Truth About Guns: “The Po-Po and Co. decided there wasn’t enough evidence to prosecute. Apparently, the fact that Rev. Lucas told The Washington Post that he’d transferred the gun illegally — after spending $3k of church funds to buy enough raffle tickets to win the gun and, thus, to keep the AR-15 ‘off the streets’ — couldn’t be verified by the authorities.”

To be clear, Lucas shouldn’t be prosecuted. But that’s not the point. Here we have an example of prosecutors selectively enforcing the law (not to mention conjuring up laughable excuses). Some call this practice prosecutorial discretion. But if the circumstances had been reversed — let’s say Lucas wasn’t a vocal gun control advocate but otherwise did exactly the same thing — would the end result be the same? The answer is almost certainly no.

The same kind of selective enforcement has applied to leftists like anti-gun “journalist” and former “Meet the Press” host David Gregory, who broke DC law by bringing a “large capacity” magazine to the set. In both these cases, authorities let them off the hook because the activists were considered to be doing a “good deed.” It’s a shame that law-abiding citizens — particularly gun owners, who are the cream of the crop — aren’t typically extended the same courtesy. In too many cases, prosecutorial discretion has become raw prosecutorial bias.

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