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Tennessee lawmakers expel 2 Democrats over gun control protest

Former Rep. Justin Jones, D-Nashville, Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville, and former Rep. Justin Pearson, D-Memphis, raises their hands outside the House chamber after Jones and Pearson were expelled from the legislature Thursday, April 6, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn.  (George Walker IV/AP)
Former Rep. Justin Jones, D-Nashville, Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville, and former Rep. Justin Pearson, D-Memphis, raises their hands outside the House chamber after Jones and Pearson were expelled from the legislature Thursday, April 6, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. (George Walker IV/AP)

In an unprecedented move, Republican Tennessee lawmakers voted to expel Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, who represents Nashville and Memphis, respectively. Along with Rep. Gloria Johnson, the lawmakers protested on the floor last week in favor of gun control following a deadly school shooting in Nashville.

The three called it a necessary move to make their voices heard, but House Speaker Cameron Sexton compared it to an insurrection. But while Jones and Pearson — both young Black men — were removed, Johnson — a white woman — avoided expulsion by one vote.

Melissa Brown, state government and politics reporter for The Tennessean, joins host Scott Tong to explain the expulsion vote and what comes next.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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