Headline RoundupApril 7th, 2023

Tennessee House Votes to Expel 2 Lawmakers Over Gun Control Protest

Summary from the AllSides News Team

Tennessee's House of Representatives voted Thursday to expel two of the three Democratic lawmakers who broke House rules by staging a gun control protest on the chamber's floor last week.

The Details: Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson were expelled by votes of 72 to 25 and 69 to 26, respectively. A vote to expel Rep. Gloria Johnson failed by one vote. The three led a gun reform protest last week after six people were killed in the Nashville Covenant School shooting on Mar. 27. Protesters entered the House chamber, chanting and blocking doorways. At one point, Jones and Rep. Justin Lafferty (R) got into a scuffle, leading Jones to accuse Lafferty of assault.

Key Quotes: Johnson suggested the fact that she wasn't expelled while Jones and Pearson were "might have to do with the color of our skin." Johnson is white, and Jones and Pearson are black. "What they did is they hijacked the House floor which has never been done in our history," House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R) said.

For Context: Such an expulsion is relatively rare, according to sources across the spectrum. Tennessee's House is composed of 73 Republicans and 26 Democrats.

How the Media Covered It: Some left-rated sources emphasized the fact that the two expelled lawmakers are black, and focused more on critics of the move who suggested it was racially motivated. Some right-rated sources focused more on the House's reasoning for expelling the duo, and the details of the protest.

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