I get that people are worked up in Tennessee. Especially since Nashville is the state capital. The shooting was so close to home. Literally.
But there are rules in the legislature that must be followed. Leading a protest on the floor of the state House was probably not one of those things anyone was interested in.
Now, three Democrats who did that will find out their fate later today.
The Tennessee House of Representatives is scheduled to vote Thursday on removing from office three Democratic lawmakers who protested on the chamber floor with a bullhorn to call for gun reform following last month’s school shooting in Nashville – and now are accused of breaking House rules.
Three resolutions filed by GOP lawmakers Monday seek to expel Reps. Gloria Johnson of Knoxville, Justin Jones of Nashville and Justin Pearson of Memphis, each of whom has already been removed from their committee assignments following last week’s demonstrations.
The three lawmakers led a protest on the House floor last Thursday, CNN affiliate WSMV reported, using a bullhorn as demonstrators at the state Capitol called on lawmakers to take action to prevent further gun violence after three 9-year-olds and three adults were killed in a mass shooting on March 27 at The Covenant School, a private Christian school.
“It’s morally insane that a week after a mass shooting took six precious lives in my community here in Nashville, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, their first action is not to take actions to rein in this proliferation of weapons of war in our streets, but it’s to expel their colleagues for standing with our constituents,” Jones told “CNN This Morning” on Wednesday.
“This is not just about losing my job,” he added, saying constituents of the three representatives “are being taken and silenced by a party that is acting like authoritarians.”
Except that it’s not that they stood with their constituents. That’s to be expected from any lawmaker.
What they’re facing expulsion for was being so disruptive on the floor of the state legislature. Had they stood outside the chamber and protested, there would be far less of an issue.
Yet that’s not what they did and now they face retribution for their behavior, not their views.
Of course, that’s not what anyone is going to hear.
The media framing has been obvious. These three were simply protesting and the vile Republicans are trying to kick them out of the legislature for voicing their opinions.
I mean, yeah, they had a bullhorn and were disrupting the House, but that doesn’t matter because gun control.
Tennessee Republicans are right to be upset and I’m not going to say they’re wrong for expelling these three if that is indeed what happens later today. Yet they’ve done a crap job of addressing this in the media and allowing the narrative that this is about these three’s support for gun control to run rampant.
That’s going to bite them in the keister sooner or later, I’m afraid.
I’m not saying what they’re talking about doing is wrong, I’m saying they’ve handled everything else about it wrong.