On a tragic day just over a week ago, a mass shooter indiscriminately fired off 152 rounds with an assault rifle and 9mm handgun at Covenant Elementary School, killing three children and three adults before being killed by police. This was just one of the 132 mass shootings that have occurred in America since the start of 2023. The incident has once again sparked outrage and grief across the country and a demand for stricter gun control laws.
In Tennessee, where the mass shooting took place, parents of the victims have been joined by Democratic representatives in calling for stricter gun control laws. However, this call for change has been met with opposition from the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. In fact, the Republicans went as far as to call for a vote to expel two Black Democratic representatives, Rep. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, who stood in solidarity with the grieving community.
What happened during the House vote can only be described as an assault on democracy and flat-out racism. The House voted to expel the two Black representatives but did not expel Rep. Gloria Johnson, who is white and also to part in the peaceful protest calling for more gun regulations. Johnson acknowledged the racial elephant in the room, which is evident, seeing that Tennessee has a history of racism, being the birthplace of the KKK, and that representatives are reminded of this every day with statues or monuments in the state legislature or throughout the state.
It was only in 2021 that the statue of Confederate general and KKK leader Nathan Bedford Forrest was removed from public display. After the vote, thousands of angry protestors packed the House floor, chanting “Fuck You, Fascists” to the members of the GOP. The political makeup of the 113th General Assembly is 75 Republicans, 23 Democrats, and 1 vacancy. The next state election is not for another three years, so the people of Tennessee are stuck with the current administration.
The ousting of the representatives’ Jones and Pearson has given rise to Gen Z, who came out in droves to pack the House of Representatives and demand more gun control. This should scare the Tennessee GOP, seeing the record number of Gen Z that turned out in the 2020 presidential election and, just recently, the Wisconsin Supreme Court election to send a Democrat to the bench in a very red state.
There is no way to describe the state of disarray in American Republican politics, but it can be called what it is: a fascist, racist group that is drunk on power while continuing to suck on the teet of the NRA and gun lobbyists. The fact that the GOP is more concerned with protecting guns than the lives of innocent children is a clear indication of the priorities of the party. It is time for change and for the people to speak up and demand action.
The issue of gun control is complex, but it is clear that something needs to be done to prevent tragedies like this from happening again. The easy access to assault rifles and other deadly weapons is a major contributor to the high number of mass shootings in America. It is time for lawmakers to put the safety of their constituents first and pass common-sense gun control measures.
The call for gun control is not a call to take away people’s right to bear arms. It is a call for responsible gun ownership and for keeping guns out of the hands of those who would use them to do harm. It is time for the government to take action to protect its citizens and prevent senseless tragedies like the one that occurred just over a week ago in Tennessee.
The decision by the Tennessee GOP to expel democratically elected representatives who stood in solidarity with grieving families and demanded common-sense gun control legislation is an assault on democracy and a clear manifestation of racism. It is shameful that the GOP would prioritize their allegiance to the NRA and gun lobbyists over the safety and well-being of their constituents. This action is a disgrace to the values of our democracy and to the memory of the innocent children and adults who lost their lives in the recent mass shooting. The people of Tennessee should not stand for this kind of political tyranny and should demand accountability from their elected officials. It is time for the GOP to put the people’s interests first and take urgent action to address the gun violence epidemic in our country. Failure to do so is not only an abdication of their responsibility as public servants, but it is also a betrayal of their constituents trust.
Image source, Rep. Jones Twitter Feed