President Joe Biden torched the “shocking” and “undemocratic” expulsion of Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, two of the “Tennessee Three” who faced the penalty for protesting gun violence in the capitol.
On Thursday, the Tennessee House voted to expel Jones and Pearson over a protest calling for gun reform in the wake of the shooting at Nashville’s Covenant School that killed 6 people. The legislature spared Gloria Johnson, a 60-year-old white woman who participated in the protest. That disparity has been flagged by the Tennessee Three and others as a racist double standard.
In a statement emailed to Mediaite, President Biden ripped the expulsions, as well as Republicans “across America” for failing to enact certain gun reforms:
Statement from President Joe Biden on Expulsion of Tennessee Lawmakers for Acting on Gun Safety
Last week, three more students and three school officials were gunned down in yet another tragic mass shooting in Nashville. On Monday, 7,000 Tennesseans, many of them students, marched to their state capitol to call on their lawmakers to take action and keep them safe.
Instead, state Republican lawmakers called votes today to expel three Democratic legislators who stood in solidarity with students and families and helped lift their voices. Today’s expulsion of lawmakers who engaged in peaceful protest is shocking, undemocratic, and without precedent. Rather than debating the merits of the issue, these Republican lawmakers have chosen to punish, silence, and expel duly-elected representatives of the people of Tennessee.
A strong majority of Americans want lawmakers to act on commonsense gun safety reforms that we know will save lives. But instead, we’ve continued to see Republican officials across America double down on dangerous bills that make our schools, places of worship, and communities less safe. Our kids continue to pay the price.
Congress must ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines, require safe storage of firearms, eliminate gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability, and require background checks for all gun sales, and state officials must do the same.
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