A little over a week after a devastating shooting at a Nashville grade school, the Tennessee House of Representatives, in a historically rare move, took the first steps to expel three Democratic members for participating in a gun control protest. On Monday, Republican lawmakers filed resolutions to remove Reps. Gloria Johnson, Justin Jones, and Justin Pearson, alleging that the three participated in “disorderly behavior.”
On March 27, a shooter armed with an AR-15 killed six people at The Covenant School, including three nine-year-olds. Only days later, hundreds of demonstrators took to the state Capitol to plead with the Republican-led legislature to pass more gun reform measures. Johnson, Jones, and Pearson led the charge. After the demonstration, House Speaker Cameron Sexton vowed that the representatives would face “consequences,” comparing their actions to the insurrection on January 6.
“You show me the broken windows, you show me anyone who went into the speaker’s office and put their chair up on his desk and trashed his office,” Rep. John Ray Clemmons responded to WPLN “you show me where a noose was hanging anywhere on the legislative plaza.”
This is an unusual move for Tennessee’s House. According to CBS news, lawmakers have only expelled two other House members since the Civil War.
The House will now decide on whether or not to remove the three representatives. The vote is slated for Thursday at the earliest. The legislators have also been stripped of their committee assignments.