Nashville, Tenn. – Hundreds of congregants dressed in white packed into the Olive Branch Church for the Easter morning service, but for many, happy greetings were followed by anxious chatter over the city Rep. Justin Jones after protesting the restraining measures in the Tennessee House.
The church sits in Jones County, and the saint’s day celebrations were unsuccessfully interjected by many of the former lawmakers, who say they are only trying to protect Tennessee from gun accessibility laws.
“It’s not good that we can’t even go to church or go to school or come home to a carton of eggs without worrying,” said Angela Hilt, 53, an olive branch gatherer who bumped into Jones. “We chose him to stand because he said to us: “Behold, I will stand for you. I am here to answer. I feel like what he did was an absolute representation of what people expect.
For Hilt, an Army veteran who, along with many others, has long pushed for gun control in his community, and the shooting of the Covenant School, where a former student killed six people last month, came as another reminder of the community’s need. extension
Republican lawmakers voted Thursday to expel Jones, along with Justin J. Pearson, over their protests on the floor of the chamber, arguing that they broke House rules. The vote to expel the third Democrat, Rep. Gloria Johnson was failing.
Jones and Pearson are black. Johnson is white.
In the March 30 Demonstration, three legislators – dubbed the “Tennessee Three” – led supporters to propose stricter gun safety measures after the federal school shooting.
Pastor Vincent Windrow, who pastors Olive Branch, one of the largest churches in the area, said Jones visited the church once and spoke with congregants who, like Windrow, were shocked when he sat down.
“It is the people who decided for them” [Jones and Pearson] in. They were not appointed by equals. For the reasons which he has spoken, he decided them.
In his sermon on Sunday, Fenestra, dressed in white, spoke about the value and celebration of life.
Windows said Jones understood his company and its challenges, including gun control.
“There have been many mass crashes, and these are tragedies, but also everyday tragedies because of the lack of cars,” he said. “People have lost loved ones in this church. People have lost husbands and wives, and innocent bystanders are living in some part of the city and because of the lack of guns — I believe because of the lack of compassion that our politicians can sometimes have for the common man, it’s heartbreaking. .
Jones said the window is speaking for their constituents because he understands their fears and struggles.
“It is so appalling that people are using their powerless platform, for those who do not have a voice, to address their concerns. And if you remove the person who could speak to the business, then you make people even more powerless,” he said.
Tennessee has one of the weakest gun laws in the country, and had the 10th highest gun death rate and the 19th highest gun export rate. Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
The state does not require gun control, a gun owner’s license or residency, and has no red flag laws, among other rules for gun owners.
The state also does not require firearms to be reported as lost or stolen, leaving the city with no weapons. From 2020 to 2021, there was a 35% increase in guns stolen from vehicles in Nashville, and more than 70% of all gun thefts reported in 2021 were taken from vehicles. Metro Nashville Police Department.
“It’s like the Wild West out there,” Duncan “Chip” Motley, 65, said Sunday. Motley and his wife, Brenda, campaigned for Jones’ cause in their home last year, and said Jones has always fought for gun control.
“That’s who it is. He told all this. This is not a show,” said Motley.
Brenda Motley, 59, said Jones fought for those who created him.
“We are not asking you to take away your guns, because it is your right, but common sense. Put it in place,” he said. “This is what the people want. The everyday working person in our district wants to be safe in their homes, and they want to see their children safe in their schools, and they want to feel that they are protected by the advocates that we elect into office. .
When they failed to do this, when they tried to shut up someone like Justin who wanted to speak for the people, why are they even there? Not for the people.”
Karlton Davidson, 48, another congregant who voted for Jones, holds a gun license and takes training classes, said he could have a “positive relationship to the ability to own a gun.”
“We’re not at all against what we see as reasonable plans. What we’re against is that the gun systems don’t have the appropriate measures that you can purchase and the training that you need,” he said.
Davidson said Jones made his point in a well-rounded statement that expressed the issue of reasonable gun laws.
He said he was unhappy. He feels his vote doesn’t count because the candidate he chose is Jones, but now he won’t represent him anymore.
“It’s an obstacle to our election process and unfortunately it’s done this way,” he said. “We are negatively impacted by this.”