‘My heart sank…': Video shows Indiana lawmaker flashing gun at high schoolers - Hindustan Times
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‘I am carrying a gun’: Indiana lawmaker Jim Lucas blasted for flashing firearm at high schoolers

ByShweta Kukreti
Feb 01, 2024 07:13 PM IST

Indiana state Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, holstered gun at high schoolers while he was discussing firearm legislation with students.

In discussion with school kids, an Indiana lawmaker allegedly tried to intimidate the youngsters who were visiting the Statehouse, demanding legislative action to reduce gun violence.

The school-goers saw the revolver on Indiana lawmaker Lucas' waist as he opened his coat, as reported by The Statehouse File, the student newspaper at Franklin College.(The Statehouse File)
The school-goers saw the revolver on Indiana lawmaker Lucas' waist as he opened his coat, as reported by The Statehouse File, the student newspaper at Franklin College.(The Statehouse File)

Indiana state Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, holstered gun at high schoolers while he was debating on the topic of firearm legislation with students from the Burris Laboratory School, leaving some teenagers feel “threatened and unsafe”.

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The school-goers saw the revolver on Lucas' waist as he opened his coat, as reported by The Statehouse File, the student newspaper at Franklin College.

Also Read: Indiana Senate passes resolution recognising contributions of Sikhs to the US

The interaction between students and Lucas

In a clip posted by The Statehouse File on X (formerly Twitter), the lawmaker can be seen having a discussion over firearms with Muncie Burris Laboratory School students. When a student inquires if Lucas carries a gun, he said, “I’m carrying [a gun] right now."

One of the students replied: "See, nothing about that makes me feel safe though. It makes me feel threatened.”

To this, Lucas said: "Those are feelings. I’m talking facts." “People that want to kill you don’t care about your feelings,” he added.

Although it is legal for lawmakers and their staff to carry a pistol within the Statehouse, students got frightened when Lucas flashed the gun.

“My heart sank to my stomach,” said 17-year-old Makynna Fivecoats, who filmed the video of lawmaker's interaction with the students. “I genuinely felt very unsafe in that moment. And I really just wanted the conversation to kind of end after that.”

Also Read: ‘Deeply disturbed’: US condemns brutal attack on Telangana student in Indiana

Indiana state Rep. Jim Lucas defends self

Lucas, however, has rejected the allegations that he was threatening the students.

He told the Statehouse File that he was "simply showing an inanimate object," in reference to the lethal weapon.

“People that want to have adult conversations, I think, need to be able to handle adult situations," he said.

He even took to Facebook to reiterate his advocacy for weapons as a means of self-defence.

Along with his statement, Lucas added links of news articles about the Parkland and Uvalde killings in the comments section. "I fear for, and pity those that are being indoctrinated to fear that which is their best means of self defense." “People are also being indoctrinated to depend on government for their ‘safety,’ even when shown that government has clearly ruled that government doesn’t have the duty to protect us.”

Jim Lucas faces backlash ‘intimidating’ high school students

Responding to the video, the Indiana Democratic Party released a statement denouncing Lucas who flashed a gun at a gathering of high school students.

“Indiana Republicans seemingly have enough time to belittle and intimidate high school students in between passing laws defunding the police, expanding child labor, and helping the gun lobby get off in court,” said Indiana Democratic Party Chair Mike Schmuhl in the statement.

“This supermajority puts the interests of the gun lobby over those of our local governments, and even the safety of Hoosier students. It’s wrong, and it’s time to check their power at the ballot box in November. Indiana Republicans say laws can’t stop gun violence. They have no plan to stop gun violence because they do not believe it is possible. We all deserve an Indiana where students – and everyone in our communities – feel safe and gun-owning Hoosiers can do so safely and responsibly.”

“I would hope that Rep. Lucas would think back about the incident and apologize to the students,” Rep. Sue Errington, a Democrat from Muncie, told The Statehouse File. “They're young people. They need to be encouraged to participate in the legislative process.”

Jim Lucas: A controversial lawmaker?

Lucas made headlines last summer when he entered a guilty plea to misdemeanor drunk driving charges. According to the police, he had driven away after smashing his pickup truck through an interstate highway guardrail.

Lucas was permitted to remain in his position in the Legislature, having been elected in 2012 as the state's law only forbids individuals with felony convictions from holding public office.

He is a well-known advocate for easing gun restrictions. Last year, he backed a bill that created a state-funded program for teachers to learn how to handle handguns.

At an event in 2020, Lucas reportedly informed children that he was carrying a gun at the time and that gun control legislation wouldn't stop mass shootings at schools.

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