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Rep. Justin Jones was reappointed to the Tennessee House of Representatives Monday after being expelled last week for joining in a gun control protest on the House floor.
“The first thing I do when I walk into this building as a representative is to continue that call for common sense gun legislation,” Rep. Jones said on the steps of the Tennessee Capitol building at his swearing in.
Rep. Jones was reappointed by the Nashville Metropolitan Council by a vote of 36-0 Monday, less than a week after his expulsion from the Tennessee House of Representatives, along with former Rep. Justin Pearson.
Rep. Gloria Johnson was the sole member of the “Tennessee Three” to survive last week’s expulsion vote, and she made it clear why she believed she did.
“I think it’s pretty clear. I’m a 60-year-old White woman, and they’re two young Black men,” Rep. Johnson told CNN.
Tennessee law allows local legislative bodies to appoint interim House members to fill a seat of an expelled lawmaker until an election is held, and the Nashville Metropolitan Council reappointed Rep. Jones in a unanimous vote.
Rep. Jones told CNN Monday night that since he is technically a new member, he can file up to 15 bills. He said each of his bills will have to do with gun reform because “that’s what those young people are begging us to do.”
Justin Pearson’s vacated seat will be addressed Wednesday during a Shelby County Board of Commissioners meeting in Memphis. Commission Chairman Mickell Lowery said that Pearson’s expulsion was “conducted in a hasty manner without consideration of other corrective action methods.”
Tennessee Representatives Protest After School Shooting
The Tennessee Three joined thousands of students at the state Capitol for a protest after a school shooting at Covenant Presbyterian in Nashville left three children, three adults, and the shooter dead.
A former student of Covenant Presbyterian entered the school last month armed with an AR-15-style rifle and opened fire. They killed six people before being shot and killed by police.
Tennessee State Rep. Tim Burchett (R) told reporters outside the state Capitol that school shootings are something “we’re not gonna fix.”
“It’s a horrible, horrible situation,” Burchett said. “And we’re not gonna fix it. Criminals are gonna be criminals.”
Unhappy with lawmakers’ response, young people across Tennessee held a protest at the state Capitol demanding action with Jones, Pearson, and Johnson joining from the House floor.