Rep. Jones brings infant-sized casket into Tennessee Capitol

Democratic representative Justin Jones of Nashville walks with a casket in hand, representing the lives lost in a mass shooting, during a rally for gun reform in Nashville, Tennessee on April 17, 2023. - The rally was apart of Moral Monday events and to call for gun reform in the wake of the mass shooting that happened in Nashville on March 27. Democrats Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, both of whom are Black, were expelled by Republican lawmakers April 6, 2023 after they disrupted the assembly session, demanding restrictions on firearms in the wake of a deadly mass shooting at an elementary school in the city of Nashville. (Photo by SETH HERALD / AFP) (Photo by SETH HERALD/AFP via Getty Images)
Democrat representative Justin Jones of Nashville walks with a casket in hand, representing the lives lost in a mass shooting, during a rally for gun reform in Nashville, Tennessee on April 17, 2023. (Photo by SETH HERALD/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN Roy Francis
UPDATED 1:17 PM – Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Recently reinstated Representative Justin Jones attempted to bring an infant-sized casket into the Tennessee assembly floor before he was stopped on Monday.


Jones (D-Tenn.) along with Representative Justin Pearson (D-Tenn.), who had also been recently reinstated, participated in a protest against gun violence at the Tennessee State Capitol on Monday.

The demonstration they attended, which was organized by Bishop William Barber II of the Protestant Disciple of Christ Church, had called for more aggressive restrictions on gun ownership.

The attendees of the demonstration, led by Barber, had marched on the State Capitol and demanded that lawmakers pass the gun safety legislation and “stop using their authority to trample democracy.” Demonstrators also carried caskets symbolizing the victims of gun violence.

“The legislators are back, but returning duly elected lawmakers to their seat does not solve the problem,” Barber said according to AP News, and demanded that lawmakers “stop committing policy murder.”

Protestors had remained outside the Capitol and were blocked from bringing the caskets inside. However, Jones used his status to bring the casket into the building, bypassing troopers and security. He was ultimately barred from bringing the casket onto the House floor by the Sergeant at Arms.

Justin handed the casket off to Pearson, who was also participating in the demonstrations with him, before going onto the floor.

After the shooting at The Covenant School, the two lawmakers, along with Representative Gloria Johnson (D-Tenn.) had similarly led protestors to the House floor on March 30th, interrupting the proceedings at the time.

The Republican-led state House had then voted to expel Jones and Pearson from the legislature because they had disrupted the proceedings by using a bullhorn to rally protestors on the House floor.

However, the two were ultimately reinstated by the Nashville Metropolitan Council, and the Shelby County Board of Commissioners.

After they were expelled, President Joe Biden spoke with the three representatives over video call and thanked them for “their leadership” in seeking stricter gun laws and “standing up for our democratic values.”

Vice President Kamala Harris also visited Tennessee on April 7th to meet with the three Democrat representatives after they faced the expulsion vote.

“We are here because [Jones, Pearson and Johnson] and their colleagues in the Democratic caucus chose to show courage in the face of extreme tragedy,” Harris said. “They chose to lead and show courage and say that a democracy allows for places where the people’s voice will be heard and honored and respected.”

The Vice President faced criticism for making the trip to Nashville to meet with the Democrats, but had not made the effort to visit with the families of the victims from The Covenant School shooting.

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