Tennessee State Representatives Justin Jones, Justin Pearson and Gloria Johnson call or gun reform in wake of Nashville school shooting
In the wake of another tragic school shooting, this time at the Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee killing six people including three nine-year old children have compelled residents to take the battle on gun violence to the steps of the state capital. On Monday, April 3, the Republic led House of Representatives began taking steps to expel three Tennessee House Representatives who participated in the lawful protests on Thursday of last week by using a bullhorn on the House floor to implore their colleagues to do more than pay lip service to the issue of gun violence in schools and take definitive action to protect its most vulnerable citizens.
GOP lawmakers filed three resolutions Monday, one each seeking the expulsion of Reps. Gloria Johnson of Knoxville, Justin Jones of Nashville and Justin Pearson of Memphis, each of whom was already removed from their committee assignments after last week’s demonstrations. The resolutions were filed by Republican Reps. Bud Hulsey, Gino Bulso and Andrew Farmer.
In a series of tweets Monday, Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton called the Democratic lawmakers’ actions “unacceptable,” adding they broke “several rules of decorum and procedure on the House floor.”
Protestors today entered the Tennesee statehouse to disrupt the proceedings against the three legislators and demand that the state focus instead on the six dead killed by a 28-year-old shooter was armed with three guns and fired 152 rounds during the attack.
“If this House decides to expel me for exercising our sacred first amendment right to help elevate the voices in our community who want to see us act to prevent gun violence, then do as you feel you must,” Pearson concluded.
House Democrats expressed solidarity with the trio in a statement Monday, saying the caucus stood “firmly united” with them.
“The Democratic Caucus has unanimously, formally voted to oppose the baseless resolutions for expulsion and will zealously oppose them should they come up for a vote on the House floor,” the statement said.
Efforts to expel the three House members are “morally bankrupt,” the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators said in a statement Tuesday.
“The political retribution is unconstitutional,” caucus chairman and Democratic Rep. Sam McKenzie said in the statement. “We fundamentally object to any effort to expel members for making their voices heard to end gun violence.”
The House speaker should be leading bipartisan discussions to “generate reforms that could stop the next school shooting,” McKenzie added.
“Instead he’s using his power to silence people who are calling for solutions that he opposes,” he said.
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