An Indiana lawmaker found himself in hot water recently over a Facebook post in which he advocated for women carrying a firearm and taking gun classes so they may defend themselves from sexual assault.
According to this story from indystar.com, Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour), posted a photo of a letter he wrote to the paper, directing the following comment to IndyStar reporter Marisa Kwiatkowski: “After reading your front page article in the Sunday Star about the tragedy of rape, it would be nice to see a follow up article about the thousands of Hoosier women that are taking steps & learning how not to be a victim.”
The post garnered more than 400 comments, many critical of Lucas, saying his statement places the blame for sexual assault on the victim.
Lucas later said he had been “publicly excoriated” for sharing his view that women should “empower themselves to mitigate their chances of being violently assaulted,” according to this story from nbcnews.com.
The lawmaker has been a vocal proponent of gun ownership and concealed carry as a means of self defense, and has also been a constitutional carry proponent in Indiana. His critics say he jumped on a discussion about sexual assault to push his agenda.
Lucas responded to several comments in his own defense, the story says, and threw up a subsequent post in which he volunteered to pay for women who sign up to take a gun training course and self-defense course.
However, Lucas officially issued an apology for his comments on Saturday, saying he had an opportunity to speak with the woman profiled in the original story.
“I learned how common, everyday words can be so extremely sensitive to survivors of such horrible acts,” he wrote. He also said the backlash was the result of a misunderstanding and that his words were intentionally twisted.
“Is there any wonder people don’t want to discuss this issue and it remains off limits?” he said.
While his detractors may have been offended by Lucas’ statements, many women in the U.S. are opting to carry a firearm to defend themselves against attacks and other crimes.
In fact, the upcoming NRA Carry Guard Expo, held in Milwaukee from Aug. 25-27, will feature a bevy of offerings specifically for women, including seminars like “Methods of Concealed Carry for Women,” “For Women: Handgun Fit, Function And Making Educated Decisions,” and “American Rifleman Ladies Pistol Project: Landmark Study on Women’s Shooting Preferences and Concealed Carry.”
The expo will also feature a Refuse To Be A Victim Seminar, in which attendees will learn personal safety tips and techniques for avoiding dangerous situations and preventing becoming a crime victim.