Justin Jones says he did his job, vows to continue fight for gun reforms

Tennessee State Representative Justin Jones, standing with Rep. Justin Pearson and Rep. Gloria Johnson, calls on his colleagues to pass gun control legislation from the well of the House Chambers during the legislative session, three days after the mass shooting at The Covenant School, at the State Capitol in Nashville, Tennessee, US March 30, 2023. — Reuters 

Democrat representative Justin Jones while maintaining his stance on firearms legislation said prior to his vote of expulsion that what “they did was giving voices to those who have been silenced.”

While speaking on the floor of the House, he said: “There comes a time where people get sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

“And so my colleagues, I say that what we did was act in our responsibility as legislators to serve and give voice to the grievances of people who have been silenced”, he noted prior to his vote of expulsion among the other two lawmakers.

Jones added: “How can you bring dishonour to an already dishonourable house?”

After leaving the Capitol on Thursday, CNN reported that Jones was not sure what his next steps are following his expulsion.

“I will continue to show up to this Capitol with these young people whether I’m in that chamber or outside,” Jones told the journalists.

People who were in the Republican-dominated House gallery raised their fists and chanted as Representative Jones was voted to expel.

People did the same again when Representative Justin Pearson was shown his way out.

The House failed to expel Representative Johnson — who is white — after votes against her expulsion fell short.

The vote conducted on the violation of the rules for Jones split along party lines 72-25 whereas, in Pearson’s case it was 69-26. Johnson got votes 65-30.

While thanking the crowds that gathered around the building Johnson said: “Keep showing up, standing up and speaking out and we will be with you.”

Justin Pearson while talking to the journalists said that he hopes to be re-appointed.

“I do hope to get re-appointed to serve in the state legislature by the Shelby County Commissioners, and a lot of them, I know, are upset about the anti-democratic behaviour of this White supremacist-led state legislature,” he told reporters.

According to the procedure, both lawmakers can regain their seats after reappointment from the local governments through votes and then special elections on the vacant seats.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper said on Thursday in a tweet that Jones and Pearson’s districts were “disenfranchised today.”

“I’m proud that Metro Council is meeting Monday to fill the vacancy left in Nashville by today’s vote, [and] I believe they’ll send [Jones] right back to continue serving his constituents,” he wrote in the tweet.

Last Thursday, a protest was led by these three Democrat legislators, CNN reported citing WSMV.

“Each lawmaker was removed from their committee assignments following last week’s demonstrations.”

The resolutions which led to the removal of the two lawmakers were put forth under Article II, Section 12 of the Tennessee Constitution, stating, in part, “the House can set its own rules and punish its members for disorderly behaviour, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.”

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