Nashville Shooting Witnesses Removed from Legislative Hearing for Gun Control Testimony

Families affected by a fatal school shooting in Nashville were removed from a legislative hearing room while waiting to testify in favor of gun control measures. Tennessee Republican leader, Governor Bill Lee, called lawmakers back for a special legislative session to consider firearm restrictions for dangerous individuals. However, lawmakers largely refused to consider the issue. Three similar proposals for extreme risk protection orders immediately failed in the House subcommittee where witnesses were removed. On the first day of the session, Republicans advanced new procedural rules that banned visitors from carrying signs and restricted public access to legislative galleries. This follows the expulsion of two young Black Democratic lawmakers earlier this year for breaking House rules during a gun control demonstration. The incident has raised concerns about the Republican supermajority’s ability to enforce strict punishments on opponents. Despite the restrictions, protestors managed to express their views through body writing and electronic messages. Gun control advocate Allison Polidor was escorted out of a hearing room for holding a sign, while another Republican lawmaker failed to pass a bill allowing guns on K-12 and college school property. Witnesses were eventually allowed to testify, with one parent stating that armed teachers would not have been able to handle the situation during the shooting.