Indiana lawmaker flashes holstered gun to students protesting for gun control in state Capitol

Gun Rights

A Republican lawmaker in Indiana flashed his concealed firearm to students protesting for gun control at the state’s Capitol on Tuesday.

State Rep. Jim Lucas approached the group of five teenagers to ask what brought them to the Capitol. He began to defend gun rights when they told him they were participating in a protest with a branch of the Everytown for Gun Safety advocacy group.

One of the teens began recording the exchange.

Lucas argued that Americans are not “truly free” unless they are equipped to defend themselves.

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Jim Lucas

In this image taken from a video, Indiana Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, flashes a holstered gun to students visiting the statehouse to talk to lawmakers about gun control on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024, in Indianapolis. (Makynna Fivecoats via AP)

When a student asked if Lucas meant carrying a firearm, the lawmaker opened his jacket and said, “I’m carrying right now.”

“Nothing about someone carrying a gun makes me feel safe,” another student said soon after.

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Lucas later addressed the exchange on social media after local news outlets published the video.

“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,” Lucas wrote.

Indiana Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, listens during the start of the General Assembly session at the statehouse.

One of the students involved in the incident, Alana Trissel, 17, spoke with The Associated Press afterward, saying the conversation “took a turn for the worst” after Lucas revealed his gun.

“Since a state legislator had shown a weapon, I felt all the more powerless,” she said. “I felt scared. I felt alone. I was timid and almost petrified with fear.”

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Lucas last made national headlines after he was arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated and abandoning his car after a crash in May 2023.

Lucas was arrested by a state trooper from ISP-Versailles Post after initially leaving the scene of the accident.

Jim Lucas Indiana

Mugshot of Indiana state Rep. Jim Lucas provided by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. (Jackson County Sheriff’s Office)

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The Sheriff’s Office listed the following charges for Lucas: motor vehicle – operating while intoxicated – endangerment; motor vehicle – leaving the scene of a crash – property damage crash; motor vehicle – operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

He ultimately accepted a deal in the case, pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges of driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident, and was sentenced to supervised probation for one year and paid $4,000 in restitution for damage caused in the crash. He was also required to enter an alcohol and drug abuse program. A judge then agreed to cut his probation short after six months.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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