Protesters Descend On Tennessee Capitol To Overcome GOP Obstruction On Guns

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On Thursday, a large crowd of demonstrators showed up at the Tennessee state Capitol to express support for three Democratic members of the state House who were facing the possibility of expulsion. Resolutions enacting such a move were set for a vote on Thursday.

Democratic state Reps. Gloria Johnson, Justin Jones, and Justin Pearson are those who’ve been targeted. Using a megaphone in the front of the House chamber, the three of them joined in support of protesters pushing for action to advance gun safety. (Those demonstrations were last week.) The resolutions that, if approved, would boot those state legislators from their posts accuse the protesting lawmakers of “disorderly behavior,” alleging they “did knowingly and intentionally bring disorder and dishonor to the House of Representatives.” “Dishonor”? All they did was stand there and protest. Jones and Pearson are both in their first terms, while Johnson took office in 2019. Jones and Pearson are both Black, and if the group was comprised of older white dudes yelling on behalf of a conservative cause, would they have faced even the possibility of the extremely rare punishment of expulsion?

Protesters who assembled inside the Capitol at those earlier junctures in support of action on gun safety numbered into the hundreds. Already, all three of the state legislators who joined, from a slight distance, in the demonstrations were removed from their committee roles in the lawmaking body.

Elsewhere, students around the country participated in walkouts on Wednesday in support of action on gun control as school shootings and violence elsewhere continue to plague Americans and specifically threaten young people. Walkouts were recorded in locales like North Carolina, Michigan, Texas, Washington, Oregon, and beyond. Some of those demonstrating in Texas were high-schoolers at Uvalde High School, which is located in the city where a mass shooting at an elementary school took place last year, leaving nearly two dozen dead. That attack was perpetrated with a legally obtained firearm, meaning changing the legal parameters for accessing those weapons could’ve kept the incident from happening. At the federal level, President Joe Biden and his team continue to support measures like a ban on assault weapons and expansions to background checks for gun purchases.