Anti-gun protesters mob Tennessee state capitol

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

If these were Second Amendment activists shutting down legislative business in Springfield, Illinois or Albany, New York, you can imagine what the mainstream media’s reaction would be. But these are gun control supporters we’re talking about, so the crowd of anti-gunners that briefly prevented lawmakers from doing their jobs is getting a lot of love from their media allies.


Here’s a slightly different take from inside one of the chambers.

And more from the rotunda area:

“No justice, no peace” seems like an odd rallying cry for gun control activists, at least to me. Aren’t they supposed to be the peaceful ones, at least in their minds?

Democratic lawmakers ended up getting in on the protests as well, with a couple of state representatives bringing a bullhorn to the House floor.


The disruptions led to House leaders calling a recess that lasted for about 30 minutes before legislators resumed their business.

Chaos erupted around 10:50 a.m. as the House voted on a bill dealing with expansion of the state’s education savings account program when Rep. Justin Jones complained aloud to Speaker Cameron Sexton that his voting machine was turned off.

Sexton told Jones he was out of order, then called a five-minute recess. As Republican leaders huddled at Sexton’s dais, Jones of Nashville and Reps. Justin J. Pearson of Memphis and Gloria Johnson of Knoxville went to the podium armed with a megaphone, leading chants such as “Gun control now!” with people in the balcony seating areas.

Shortly after 11:30, the House Republican Caucus exited the chamber to the outdoor balcony, possibly to vote on how to proceed.

When they returned, Speaker Sexton told House members he understood their “frustrations” but noted that how they expressed them Thursday morning wasn’t “acceptable behavior.” House Republican leaders declined to immediately sanction.

Once the House resumed its calendar, Republicans began to use a procedural maneuver to limit debate, leading Democratic Caucus Chairman John Ray Clemmons to ask Republicans to allow discussion on significant bills.


It’s telling that a legislator like Rep. Jones couldn’t articulate a specific policy for his colleagues to adopt that he believes would have prevented the shootings at Covenant School and instead bellowed empty slogans like “gun control now”.

The cold, hard reality is that you can have the most restrictive gun laws in the country and still have more active shooting incidents than any other state in the nation. Those twisted souls intent on turning their self-loathing into mass murder aren’t going to be stopped by background checks, waiting periods, gun bans, or “gun-free zones”. If they were California would be home to the fewest active shooting incidents, not leading the nation in the number of these kinds of targeted attacks.

My guess is that most of those protesting at the Tennessee state capitol haven’t given this a lot of deep thought. It’s their emotions leading the way, and in a way I do understand. I certainly share their rage at the deaths of 9-year olds Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, as well as Covenant School staffers Katherine Koonce, Cynthia Peak, and Mike Hill. There’s even a part of me that would love to believe all we need to do to prevent these terrible acts from taking place is to pass a law, but I know in my heart and from experience that it’s simply not true. As Ryan Petty and I discussed this week on Cam & Co, we absolutely can prevent these tragedies, but it’s going to take strengthening our school security, better identifying those individuals who pose a true threat, and ensuring that our civic institutions (including mental health, education, and the criminal justice systems) can step in to intervene before they can act on their plans. Today’s protesters made a lot of noise, but they’re barking up the wrong tree.


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