‘Tennessee Three’ Meet With Biden at White House, Discuss Gun Laws

Mimi Nguyen Ly
By Mimi Nguyen Ly
April 25, 2023US News
‘Tennessee Three’ Meet With Biden at White House, Discuss Gun Laws
Tennessee Democrats expelled from the Tennessee state legislature over gun control protest Justin Jones (R) and Justin Pearson (L), as well as Tennessee Democrat Gloria Johnson (C) speak at the stakeout location, after a meeting with US President Joe Biden discussing their efforts to ban assault weapons, at the White House in Washington, DC, on April 24, 2023. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

Three Tennessee House Democrats met with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House on Monday, where they discussed gun control laws.

Reps. Justin Jones (D-Nashville), Justin Pearson (D-Memphis), and Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville) told reporters they discussed with Biden a slew of gun control laws.

“We talked about red flag laws, we talked about safe storage laws, we talked about assault weapons and what that would look like. So there were a lot of options and as well as universal background checks and closing loopholes, things like that,” Johnson said outside the White House on Monday.

“There’s such incredible interest in getting something done, in action,” she added.

The lawmakers did not say what specific actions, if any, Biden discussed taking at the national level.

Jones told reporters that they are representing a movement seeking to have Southern states garner national attention to pass gun control laws.

“We talked about how Tennessee can be a model for the nation,” Jones said. “This is not a moment it is a movement.”

“You cannot expel hope and you can’t expel a movement,” Pearson said.

He added that the group supported an upcoming special session where the Tennessee legislature would discuss gun control. The session was announced on April 21 by Republican Gov. Bill Lee, who, in a statement, described the session as one “to pass legislation that will strengthen public safety and preserve constitutional rights.”

Lawmakers Disrupted State House Proceedings

The three Tennessee lawmakers had in late March led hundreds of protesters to the Tennessee state Capitol to call for tighter gun control laws, disrupting state House proceedings.

Jones and Pearson were expelled from the chamber by the GOP-controlled Tennessee House for their actions, although both were later reinstated on an interim basis by local officials. The two plan to run in a special election to finish their terms.

Republicans in the state House said all three lawmakers had violated decorum rules. Johnson, unlike Jones and Pearson, did not use a megaphone to lead chants during the protest, which may have been why she was spared from expulsion by a margin of just one vote.

The protest at the Tennessee state Capitol followed a school shooting in Nashville at Covenant School, a private Christian school. Three 9-year-old children and three school staff members died.

Biden Showers Praise

At the Oval Office meeting, Biden told the three state lawmakers: “You’re standing up for our kids. You’re standing up for our communities—safer communities—and democratic values. That’s what it’s all about.”

The Democrat president called the actions of the GOP-controlled Tennessee legislature “shocking” in having expelled Justin and Jones, saying the move was “without any precedent.”

“We passed the most significant gun laws that have passed in 30 years, but there’s more to do,” Biden said. “What happened was that we did—we made background checks and legislation with so-called ‘red flag laws.'”

Harris also attended the meeting with Biden. Harris traveled to Nashville to meet the three lawmakers earlier this month and echoed their calls for change.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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