Rep. Justin Jones was joined by gun reform activists and community members to be officially sworn back in after his expulsion from the legislature by a Republican majority for his involvement in a gun control protest on the house floor following the Covenant School shooting.
Rep. Jones was sworn in August 17 in the Old Supreme Court Chamber of the Tennessee State Capitol by Justice Sharon Lee of the Tennessee Supreme Court. Rep. Jones’ swearing-in marked the first time in Tennessee history that an expelled lawmaker was returned to the legislature. This comes after what critics have called an unconstitutional and unprecedented move by the increasingly extremist Republican super-majority when they expelled Rep. Jones on April 6.
According to Rep. Jones, he looks forward to continuing bringing the voices of the people in District 52 to the ‘people’s House,’ and fighting for the clear mandate he received with 775 of the vote to ‘Protect Kids, Not Guns.’
“The mandate given to me by the people of District 52 was resounding and clear. The time for change is now. Throughout our time on the campaign trail and in preparing for the special session, the message we have continuously heard is that we need meaningful gun reform to protect our children and communities. If our kids can go back to school, then my Republican colleagues can get back to work to build a Tennessee that is safer for all.”
Jones also said that he is looking for “Speaker Cameron Sexton to return my committee assignments to give equal voice to District 52 residents in the legislative process.”
Additionally, Justin J. Pearson of Memphis was sworn in on Monday by Judge Rachel L. Bell, just before the start of the special legislative session on public safety. Pearson was expelled alongside Rep. Jones for his role in the gun control protest on the house floor.
Prior to the ceremony, Pearson joined social justice organizations in a rally for tighter gun laws.