An interactive video shows an Indiana lawmaker flashing his holstered gun to high school students visiting the statehouse to advocate for gun reform, leaving some teens feeling unsafe and “threatened.”
Republican Rep. Jim Lucas A student publication at Franklin College, he was discussing gun legislation with students at Burris Laboratory School when he opened his coat to show the children the gun on his waist Statehouse Archives first reported.
“I’m carrying [a gun] Now,” Lucas told a group of students, opening his coat to reveal a gun at his waist. Obtained clips through the exit.
“Look, that doesn’t make me feel safe,” one student responded. “A guy with a gun doesn’t make me feel safe. It makes me feel threatened.”
“These are feelings. I’m telling you the truth,” Lucas told the teen. Lucas was arrested in May for driving under the influence and leaving the scene of a crash.
“People who want to kill you don’t care about how you feel,” he added.
The high school students, who are members of Students for Demand Action, a national group of young activists working to end gun violence in the United States, visited the Indianapolis State Capitol on Tuesday for the annual Advocacy day to demand lawmakers do more to protect them from guns and violence. School shootings.
According to the Indiana Bureau of Statistics, there have been 55 school shootings in Indiana since 1966. K-12 School Shooting Database The database shows that in the first month of 2024 alone, 14 school shootings occurred across the United States, resulting in 17 victims.
Students told Statehouse Archives that interactions with state lawmakers made them feel uneasy.
“My heart sank to rock bottom,” said 17-year-old Makynna Fivecoats, who captured video of their conversation. “I felt really unsafe in that moment. I really just wanted the conversation to be over after that.”
Lawmakers and their staff were allowed into the state Capitol, but students remained uneasy about the gun Lucas displayed.
“It almost felt like a threat to me,” Fivecoats told the publication. “I want to say that’s not what he meant, but when you show someone you have a gun on you, there’s no other way.” Meaning [anything] Except for threats. “
However, Lucas denied claims that he threatened the teenage girl, telling state records that he “simply displayed an inanimate object,” referring to the deadly weapon.
“I think people who want to have adult conversations need to be able to handle adult situations,” he said, referring to the students.
The Republican later reiterated his argument on Facebook that the guns were for self-defense.
“I feel worried and pity for those who have been instilled with fear because it is their best means of self-defense,” Lucas wrote next to a link to the article. “People are also indoctrinated to rely on the government to protect them. “Safety” even if it shows that the government has clearly stated that the government has no obligation to protect us. “
His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post.
The action by state representatives has been met with fierce opposition from Democrats and those who have called for greater school safety.
“Indiana Republicans appear to have plenty of time to belittle and intimidate high school students while passing laws to defund the police, expand child labor and help the gun lobby get out of court,” said Mike Schmuhl, chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party. .” According to Fox59“This supermajority puts the interests of the gun lobby ahead of the interests of our local governments and even the safety of our Hoosier students. This is wrong, and it’s time to check their power at the ballot box in November. .
Lucas had a similar interaction with voters in 2020, when he responded to a 12-year-old’s question about guns in schools by telling the crowd: “I carry a gun right now. Does that scare anyone?” republic report then.
About a third of the people in the room, or about 20 people, either answered “yes” or raised their hands in affirmative, visibly frightening them, the outlet reported.