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Indiana State Rep. Shows Off Gun as Protesters Confront Him at Statehouse

Asked by a student whether he carried a gun, Republican Jim Lucas opened his blazer to reveal one holstered on his hip

<p>AP Photo/Darron Cummings</p> Indiana Rep. Jim Lucas

AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Indiana Rep. Jim Lucas

An Indiana Republican lawmaker is facing calls to apologize after he flashed his holstered gun during an interaction with high school gun violence protesters at the statehouse this week.

Franklin College's The Statehouse File reported on the interaction, which was filmed and shared to X on Tuesday.

The outlet reports that the students attend Burris Laboratory School in Muncie, Ind. and are members of the gun violence advocacy group Students Demand Action. On Tuesday, they visited the Indiana Statehouse for Advocacy Day, during which they had a chance to speak with lawmakers.

Related: Matthew McConaughey Delivers Impassioned Speech About Gun Safety at White House Press Briefing

One of those lawmakers was state Rep. Jim Lucas who, when asked by one student whether he carried a gun, then opened his blazer to reveal one holstered on his hip. “I’m carrying right now,” he said.

<p>AP Photo/Bob Christie</p> Indiana Rep. Jim Lucas

AP Photo/Bob Christie

Indiana Rep. Jim Lucas

In Indiana, it's legal to carry a concealed weapon, though the students who witnessed the incident have since described feeling "unprotected and unsafe."

“It was though all of my previous arguments were just invalid because I knew that at any given circumstance, he could end the entire conversation by choosing to end any of our lives,” 17-year-old Alana Trissel told the outlet. “I just knew that that conversation wasn't really a conversation because there was nothing I could say. I just felt unprotected and unsafe.”

The student who filmed the interaction — 17-year-old Makynna Fivecoats — told The Statehouse File: “My heart sank to my stomach. I genuinely felt very unsafe in that moment. And I really just wanted the conversation to kind of end after that.” 

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Related: Two Men Affected by Gun Violence 'Turn Pain into Purpose' as Leaders in the White House's New Gun Safety Office

Lucas, now facing calls to apologize for the incident, instead took to Facebook to defend his actions.

“I fear for, and pity those that are being indoctrinated to fear that which is their best means of self defense,” Lucas wrote in a post shared Wednesday, per the Indianapolis Star. “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, who was elected to his current role in 2012, has faced a string of controversies in recent years, including a drunk driving arrest last year. He has in the past faced criticism for memes posted on social media that seemingly make light of violence against women, and also once used the cover photo on his personal Facebook page to highlight a quote he attributed to Joseph Goebbels, who was the chief propagandist of the Nazi Party, FOX59 reports.

Lucas is currently running for re-election in House District 69.

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