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Gun-Control Advocates Fail To Bring Caskets Into Tennessee Capitol

Protesters seeking gun safety legislation were blocked from bringing caskets inside Tennessee’s Capitol while recently reinstated legislator escorted an infant-sized casket inside before he was barred from carrying it onto the House floor. Protesters led by Bishop William Barber II marched in Nashville, demanding that lawmakers pass legislation and stop using their authority to trample democracy. They carried several caskets symbolizing those lost to gun violence, the Associated Press reports. “The legislators are back, but returning duly elected lawmakers to their seat does not solve the problem,” Barber said, demanding that lawmakers “stop committing policy murder.”

The fatal shooting of six people at a Nashville private school last month kicked off calls for changes to Tennessee’s gun laws, including a ban on assault weapons, tougher background checks and a “red flag” law. Republican Gov. Bill Lee has urged lawmakers to pass legislation that would keep firearms away from people who could harm themselves or others. The Republican supermajority has refused. Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, both Democrats, returned to the GOP-dominated General Assembly last week after being ousted for their role in a pro-gun control demonstration on the House floor. The episode has turned Tennessee into a front in the battle for the future of democracy and pressured lawmakers to address gun control in a state known for its lax firearm regulations. On Monday, when protesters were blocked from bringing caskets inside, Jones carried an infant-sized casket past troopers and security, but the sergeant-at-arms stopped him from bringing it onto the floor.


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