One of the expelled Tennessee legislators has already been returned to the state House of Representatives, and the other is also expected to be returned shortly.
The Nashville Metro Council voted unanimously to send Rep. Justin Jones (D) back to his seat. The representative was shown the door by the Republican majority for leading a raucous gun control protest with a bullhorn on the House floor.
The expectation is for Rep. Justin Pearson (D) of Memphis to also be returned to his seat by council members shortly. A third member, Rep. Gloria Johnson (D), survived being expelled by a single vote.
Under Tennessee law, local legislative entities may reinstate expelled lawmakers. Though the process is typically drawn out, Nashville council members moved quickly to expedite it.
Memphis is expected to do the same.
Democrat Rep. Justin Jones has been expelled from the Tennessee House for leading an anti-2nd Amendment insurrection last week.
This is a great day for democracy 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/5mzk1btHD8
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) April 6, 2023
It is believed Johnson was allowed to keep her seat since she did not use the bullhorn to disrupt proceedings. As she is White and both other representatives are Black, Democrats and their mainstream media partners painted the incident and response as racial in nature.
And even though Johnson’s lawyer defended her by noting she did not use the bullhorn, she resorted to claiming she retained her seat due to her race.
Jones led a crowd of over 1,000 supporters through the Nashville streets immediately after the council returned him to his position. Supporters piled into the House galleries and had to be admonished to silence several times for their boisterous demonstrations.
The representative addressed the Speaker, recognizing those “who responded to your attack on democracy with an attack of a mass movement for justice and to restore the heart of our state. Not for what you did but for awakening the people of the state.”
It is highly unlikely that, beyond the urban centers of Nashville and Memphis, the state will experience any sort of “awakening” as referenced by Jones. Tennessee is a deeply Republican stronghold and a staunch defender of Second Amendment rights.
What seems like a mass movement in those two cities will quickly fade into obscurity throughout the rest of the state.
Even though Vice President Kamala Harris came to town and tried to fan the protest flames, control of state proceedings is still in conservative hands. There is not the slightest chance that the draconian gun control measures advocated by the Democratic minority will pass.