Once-ousted Tennessee lawmaker continues grandstanding on gun control

AP Photo/George Walker IV

Three lawmakers faced expulsion from the Tennessee House after leading a protest onto the House floor. It was grandstanding, to say the least, and Republicans fired back by kicking two of those three out. The third just barely held on.


Of course, they were returned to office almost immediately.

One might imagine that what transpired might temper someone’s actions going forward. No more grandstanding or generally making an ass out of yourself professionally, right?

Apparently, if you thought such a thing, you were wrong.

Recently reinstated Representative Justin Jones attempted to bring an infant-sized casket into the Tennessee assembly floor before he was stopped on Monday.

Jones (D-Tenn.) along with Representative Justin Pearson (D-Tenn.), who had also been recently reinstated, participated in a protest against gun violence at the Tennessee State Capitol on Monday.

Protestors had remained outside the Capitol and were blocked from bringing the caskets inside. However, Jones used his status to bring the casket into the building, bypassing troopers and security. He was ultimately barred from bringing the casket onto the House floor by the Sergeant at Arms.

Justin handed the casket off to Pearson, who was also participating in the demonstrations with him, before going onto the floor.


Yeah, this doesn’t make them look unhinged at all.

Look, I get what Jones was trying to accomplish here. Gun control advocates have long equated the lack of gun regulations with dead children, even before a heavily biased and heavily flawed study made the claim that “children” were dying due to guns more than any other cause.

The casket is clearly meant to invoke that argument.

What it doesn’t do is change anyone’s mind.

This flavor of grandstanding is all about getting media attention–which I’m in part feeding into, I’ll admit. What it doesn’t do, however, is bring up anything that might sway one’s opinion toward their cause.

Jones isn’t laying down a logical argument on why gun control is necessary, he’s simply gotten used to the spotlight and so he’s engaging in antics that will draw more of that media attention. He’s probably terrified that if he doesn’t keep it up he’ll eventually be ignored.

He’s probably right, too. He’s a member of a minority party in a state that typically doesn’t draw much media attention. If he wants to leverage his newfound fame into higher office, he needs to make sure the party elites know and remember him.


So, he carries a casket into the Capitol. He knows the cameras will show him and there will be media reports aplenty. Those who agree with him will offer the literal and proverbial high-fives and those who don’t will roll their eyes at the stunt.

But not a single mind will be changed.

Which is probably fine with Jones. He’s not interested in that. No, grandstanding like this has nothing to do with the message or the agenda and is all about the narcissistic need to make everything about himself.

I’d call it “whoring” for the media, but members of the oldest profession deserve better than to be compared to such ridiculous nonsense.

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