Priest Who Won $3,000 Assault Rifle Turns It Into Garden Tool

A priest who used parish money to help win an assault rifle has fulfilled his aim of turning into a garden tool.

Rev Jeremy Lucas of Christ Church Episcopal in Oregon, USA, vowed the AR-15 would not get a chance to run free and "be used to kill kids in schools" after he paid $3,000 for it in a charitable raffle earlier this year.

FatherJeremy.comThe transformed AR-15 was made into a garden pick axe.

Lucas used money from his parish's discretionary fund to boost his chances of winning the prize.

He faced a legal challenge from Republican lawmakers and gun rights campaigners after he asked a parishioner to store the gun without going through a background check. But the authorities declined to prosecute citing a lack of evidence.

Lucas held a ceremony at church on Friday with hymns and Bible readings that oversaw the breaking down of the gun into a garden tool.

"We took a weapon designed to kill human beings, an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle, and turned it into a tool for cultivating and growing food," noted Lucas on his blog.

He said it was a "symbolic act" to challenge how normalised gun violence had become. "For those gathered this was not a political statement, it was a spiritual statement of our Christian faith."

"Although this gun will never be used to kill anyone, it would take almost 1000 years to destroy just the guns in the United States right now using our method," said Lucas. "We destroyed this gun to highlight the idolatry with which we worship guns in America."

He added: "As those gathered together to follow Jesus Christ we are called to stand for more peace and less war, more care for others and less selfishness, more generosity and less greed, more hope and less violence. We are called to be evangelists for the nonviolent Way of Jesus.

"Yes we live in a complicated world, yes certain weapons keep us safe as a country, yes there is evil that would harm other people, but we cannot allow the fear of violence keep us from looking for another way. Our actions are meant to wake people out of their complacency around gun violence in our country and open space for new, creative and imaginative ways to live together."