A group of students from Burris Laboratory School in Muncie, Indiana, experienced a moment of fear and unease during their visit to the Statehouse on Tuesday. The incident occurred when Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, revealed a handgun to the students, who were there to participate in an Advocacy Day event organized by Students Demand Action, according to The Statehouse File.
The encounter took place in an elevator when the students and Lucas began a conversation about their purpose at the legislature. The students, advocating for measures to curb gun violence, were invited by Lucas for an impromptu discussion outside. During this interaction, captured in a video by student Makynna Fivecoats, Lucas lifted his blazer, displaying his gun and stating, “I’m carrying right now.”
The students expressed their discomfort with Lucas’s action, feeling unsafe and perceiving it as an almost threatening gesture. Fivecoats described feeling genuinely unsafe, while another student, Alana Trissel, felt distracted from normal teenage concerns due to her worries about gun violence.
Lucas, when informed that the students felt threatened, dismissed the concerns, asserting that he was merely showing an object protected by the Constitution. He emphasized the need for people to handle adult situations if they engage in adult conversations.
The discussion between Lucas and the students was marked by a contrast between his focus on facts and their emphasis on feelings. The chaperone, Alison Case, expressed disappointment with the outcome of the conversation, underscoring the importance of continuing to speak up even when feeling unheard.
This is not the first time Lucas has made a similar gesture; four years ago, he had a similar interaction with constituents, displaying his gun during a meeting when questioned about teachers carrying handguns.
Lucas’s approach to the conversation reflects a larger debate about gun laws and the role of firearms in society. The students, hoping to make an impact as young voices, left the meeting feeling demotivated and concerned about the prospects for change in the current political environment.