BREAKING: Tennessee House expels first of 3 Democrat lawmakers who joined anti-gun protesters in storming state Capitol

The House voted 72-25 in favor of expelling Jones. The fates of Reps. Gloria Johnson and Justin Pearson are yet to be decided.

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

On Thursday, the Tennessee House voted to expel Rep. Justin Jones of Nashville after he was one of three Democrat lawmakers to lead a protest which saw people calling for gun reform force their way into the Capitol building.

According to NPR, the House voted 72-25 in favor of expelling Jones. The fates of Reps. Gloria Johnson and Justin Pearson are yet to be decided.

The three Democrat lawmakers acknowledged that they didn’t follow rules of order and decorum by speaking without being formally recognized, with the Republican-led House using a disciplinary measure that has reportedly been used twice since the 19th century. 

Republican lawmakers said that their three colleagues’ actions amounted to an insurrection.

On March 30, a large crowd amassed outside the Tennessee Capitol and entered the building. Footage taken that day showed the protestors storming the building, shouting at lawmakers, and filling the Senate chamber gallery.

In the House, Johnson, Jones, and Pearson interrupted the legislative session by approaching the podium without being recognized to speak and used bullhorns to call for gun control. The trio also led protestors in the galleries in a series of chants.

If the voting follows along party lines, with the House being split into 75 Republicans and 24 Democrats, all three Democrats would be removed from office.

On Thursday Jones, as well as Johnson and Pearson, were allowed to speak on their own behalf.

"The world is watching Tennessee," Jones said. "What is happening here today is a farce of democracy."

Jones called the Republican majority a "lynch mob" eager to enact the "ultimate punishment" against himself, Johnson and Pearson.

"I represent 78,000 people and when I came to the well that day I was not standing for myself," Jones said. "I was standing for those young people ... many of whom can't even vote yet. Many of whom are disenfranchised. But all of whom are terrified by the continued trend of mass shooting plaguing our state and plaguing this nation."

Rep. Johnny Garrett, the House majority whip, played a seven-minute video from March 30 earlier that day, which included a clip shot on the House floor. Democrats said that whichever member took the video likely violated House rules.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

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