Republican Representatives Andrew Farmer, Gino Bulso, and Bud Hulsey filed three resolutions on Monday to expel their Democratic colleagues. The resolutions on Monday passed in a preliminary vote along party lines, 72-23.
Last Thursday’s protest saw hundreds of demonstrators flood into the statehouse four days after a Nashville school shooting ended with three 9-year-old children and three school staff members dead.
The three Democratic lawmakers stood on the House floor and used a bullhorn to lead protesters in chanting demands for stricter gun laws. Republicans in the resolutions calling for the expulsions accused the three of engaging in “disorderly behavior” and said they “did knowingly and intentionally bring disorder and dishonor to the House of Representatives through their individual and collective actions.”
The expulsion vote is likely to be approved by the required two-thirds of House members in the Republican-dominated chamber and lead to the ouster of Representatives Gloria Johnson, Justin Jones and Justin Pearson. The three say that taking part in the protest was within their First Amendment rights – the constitutional right to freedom of speech.
“It’s morally insane that a week after a mass shooting took six lives in our community, House Republicans only response is to expel us for standing with our constituents to call for gun control,” Jones wrote on Twitter this week. “What’s happening in Tennessee is a clear danger to democracy all across this nation.”
Hundreds of protesters gathered again outside the state house in the rain on Thursday holding signs in favor of stricter gun control. More protesters packed the gallery above the House floor.