Politics /

Tennessee Republicans Begin Expulsion Process For 3 Democrats Who Led Gun Control Protest At Statehouse

The lawmakers have already been stripped of their committee assignments and had their ID badges revoked

Tennessee Republicans have begun the process to expel three Democrats from the state House of Representatives after the trio led protest chants for a group of gun control activists who stormed the chamber last week after the a mass shooting at a local Christian school.

Reps. Gloria Johnson, Justin Jones, and Justin Pearson caused a House session to halt after they used a bullhorn to lead protestors in the statehouse galleries in chants calling for gun reform, according to local news outlet The Tennessean.

Hundreds of protesters filled the state Capitol last week demanding gun control laws in the wake of a mass shooting at The Covenant School where six people were killed.

As the three screamed into the bullhorn, House Speaker Cameron Sexton called for a recess, later vowing the three would face consequences, NBC News reported.

Sexton likened the incident to an “insurrection,” drawing a comparison to the events that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

“Two of the members, Reps. (Justin) Jones and (Gloria) Johnson, have been very vocal about Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C., about what that was,” Sexton said the day after last week’s protest. “What they did today was at least equivalent, maybe worse, depending on how you look at it, of doing an insurrection in the capitol.”

On Monday, April 3, Sexton further clarified his comments.

“My comments on Thursday were not directed toward the peaceful protestors; they were solely directed toward the actions of three Democrat lawmakers who rushed the well and those who led a protest on the House floor with a bullhorn,” he wrote on Twitter. “Their actions are and will always be unacceptable, and they break several rules of decorum and procedure on the House floor. Their actions and beliefs that they could be arrested on the House floor were an effort, unfortunately, to make themselves the victims.”

Sexton also stripped two of the Democratic lawmakers of their committee assignments and revoked their ID badges, restricting their access to the legislature.

House Republicans introduced three expulsion resolutions during Monday’s session, stating the three Democratic lawmakers “did knowingly and intentionally bring disorder and dishonor to the House of Representatives through their individual and collective actions.”

On Monday night, after the House pushed forward a scheduled vote on the lawmakers’ expulsion, protests erupted in the gallery. Activists were recorded screaming “Fascists!” as state troopers forcibly removed them from the chamber.

Other video shows a confrontation between House members on the floor.

All three resolutions passed with a party-line vote of 72 – 23. A final vote for expulsion is scheduled for Thursday.

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