Two Tennessee Democratic lawmakers, Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, were expelled from the statehouse after leading a gun control protest that disrupted legislative proceedings. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted 72-25 and 69-26, respectively, to expel the lawmakers.
However, a resolution to expel a third Democratic lawmaker, Gloria Johnson, fell short of the required two-thirds majority. The expulsion decision was reached after lawmakers spent hours arguing, with the shouts of protesters audible within the chamber.
During the protest, the three Democrats took to the House floor, chanting “No action, no peace” as hundreds of pro-gun control demonstrators converged on the statehouse.
Republicans accused the trio of bringing “disorder and dishonour to the House,” while the lawmakers themselves admitted they had broken House rules by speaking without being formally recognised. US President Joe Biden condemned the expulsions as “shocking, undemocratic, and without precedent.” Expulsion votes are rare in Tennessee, with only two previous examples in the state’s modern history.