On Tuesday, Tennessee Democratic state Rep. Justin Jones was barred from bringing a child’s casket into the legislature by security personnel. Jones, who had recently been reinstated after being expelled for a firearms control demonstration, attempted to take the prop onto the House floor as a stunt to promote gun regulation. Jones would then hand the casket off to fellow state Rep. Justin Pearson, the second black Democrat who had also been expelled and subsequently reinstated for the protest.
The gun rights protest was organized by demonstrators led by Bishop William Barber II. Barber led a march in Nashville on Monday demanding that lawmakers pass gun safety legislation in response to a recent Christian school shooting that resulted in the deaths of three children and three adults. The protesters accused Republicans of abusing their authority to undermine democracy. They carried multiple caskets symbolizing the lives lost to gun violence.
Bishop Barber II and the demonstrators were vocal in their demand for lawmakers to take action on gun safety legislation and to stop using their authority to suppress democratic processes. They emphasized the urgency of addressing the issue of gun violence and called for responsible and sensible measures to prevent further tragedies.
The Tennessee Statehouse made headlines when they expelled Representatives Jones and Pearson for leading a gun control protest that halted legislative proceedings. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson were removed from the House of Representatives in a rare vote, as a result of the protest. However, Gloria Johnson, who also took part in the demonstration, was not expelled.