The statehouse in Nashville, Tennessee, was surrounded by parents and students demonstrating in favor of gun control and against the GOP-controlled legislature’s protection of guns. The protest follows the murder of three children and three staff members at the Coventry School in Nashville.

Three Democratic members of the legislature joined the protest, chanting with the protestors.

The GOP leadership threatened to expel the Democrats. The speaker of the House absurdly claimed that the three Democrats were encouraging an insurrection.

Parents and children held signs and shouted chants during a large protest at the Tennessee capitol last week following a deadly school shooting. And while no one was arrested or injured, Republican House Speaker Cameron Sexton is comparing the demonstration to the Jan. 6 insurrection.

During the House Floor session on Thursday — days after the Covenant School shooting — Reps. Gloria Johnson, D-Knox, Justin Pearson, D-Memphis, and Justin Jones, D-Nashville, stood up and chanted with protestors in the gallery.

Pearson and other Democrats attempted to acknowledge the large group of protesters during session, but were told to stick to the subject of the bill by Speaker Cameron.

“We listened to them and helped to elevate the issue that they are demanding justice for,” said Pearson.

House Speaker Cameron Sexton said their actions were more than a breach of decorum, comparing it to the January 6th insurrection in remarks to outlets.

“Two of the members; Representative Jones and Representative Johnson, have been very vocal about Jan. 6 and Washington, D.C., about what that was,” said Sexton. “What they did today was equivalent, at least equivalent, maybe worse depending on how you look at it, to doing an insurrection in the State Capitol.”

Sexton warned that there will likely be consequences for the trio.

“It could be removal of committees; it could be censorship; it could be expulsion from the General Assembly. Anywhere in between,” said Sexton.

Leaders in the Democratic caucus are defending their colleagues. Nashville Democrat John Ray Clemmons says he believes Speaker Sexton is exaggerating.

“You show me the broken windows, you show me anyone who went into the speaker’s office and put their chair up on his desk and trashed his office, you show me where a noose was hanging anywhere on the legislative plaza,” said Clemmons, citing damage committed during the Capitol riot, which resulted in five deaths before and after the event.

The three rebellious Democrats were stripped of their committee assignments. Their member badges were deactivated. Their telephones were disconnected.

In a press conference Monday, Jones says Sexton is more focused on politics than addressing last week’s mass shooting.

“We are members, who are standing in the well, telling our speakers and our colleagues that kids should not be murdered in school,” Jones said, “and rather than address that issue, the speaker has spent more time on Twitter this weekend talking about a fake insurrection than he did about the deaths of six people including 9-year-old children.”

It is not yet clear if the lawmakers will face expulsion. Sexton has not commented on whether they will face further discipline.

A tweet:

Three Tennessee Democrats have been stripped of their committee and subcommittee assignments by the Republican dominated legislature for speaking out against gun violence in the wake of the Nashville shooting that killed three children.

Democracy is dead in Tennessee.


Rep. Gloria Johnson, one of the three Democrats, tweeted: