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Tennessee legislature expels 2 of 3 state representatives for disruptions during gun control protest

"There is a proper way to handle that and a proper way not to," GOP House Speaker Cameron Sexton said previously.

Published: April 6, 2023 4:52pm

Updated: April 6, 2023 8:12pm

Tennessee lawmakers on Thursday expelled two members of the lower chamber for conduct during a gun control protest at the Capitol last week, while a third member survived an expulsion vote.

Lawmakers ousted Democratic Rep. Justin Pearson of Memphis in a 69-26 vote, the Tennessean reported.

Pearson was defiant during his defense, saying "[f]or all of you who still believe that there are better days ahead in Tennessee, I believe with you... Even now, amid this vote, amid this persecution, I remember the good news... Hallelujah, Jesus."

Pearson, alongside with Democratic Reps. Gloria Johnson of Knoxville and Justin Jones of Nashville, reached the podium of the House floor in violation of chamber rules and encouraged demonstrators seeking gun control reforms in the wake of a mass shooting in which a transgender individual killed three children and three faculty members at a Christian school in the state.

"There is a proper way to handle that and a proper way not to," GOP House Speaker Cameron Sexton said of their conduct.

The measure to expel Rep. Gloria Johnson failed by a single vote, the final tally of which was 65-30. Lawmakers needed 66 votes for expulsion.

Prior to that tally, she defended her conduct, saying "I went to the well and I did not speak... "I absolutely never yelled... I stood with my colleagues… I believe that the charges were that I was yelling – and I was not yelling."

Earlier in the day, lawmakers voted to expel Rep. Justin Jones of Nashville over his participation in the disruptions.

Jones was expelled in a 72-25 vote. Before his ouster, Jones warned that such a move would backfire on Republicans.

"Your overreaction, your flexing of false power has awakened a generation of people who will let you know that your time is up," he said.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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