Readers offer feedback on gun reform, Tennessee Three

By , Daily Memphian Updated: May 31, 2023 4:34 PM CT | Published: April 12, 2023 4:00 AM CT

The Daily Memphian received an outpouring of letters and comments after the Tennessee state legislature voted to expel the Tennessee Three. Here is a selection of those letters.

Opinion: A former Republican elected official calls out the legislature

2:00 PM CT, April 11

If you were raised in the rural South as I was, you are no doubt familiar with some version of the idiom “gag at a gnat and swallow an elephant.”

The phrase connotes a proclivity for overreacting when a minor issue arises and failing to act when a situation calls for a decisive, uncompromising response. As a former long-time Republican and former elected official, I think it’s a fitting description for what the Tennessee House of Representatives did on April 6th when it introduced resolutions of expulsion against three Democratic members for allegedly violating rules of decorum.

A local GOP legislator was quoted as saying that the Tennessee Three’s conduct on the House floor was like a cancer that needed to be cut out. If true, then the philandering, unethical and inappropriate conduct that has infected the legislature has put democracy in Tennessee on hospice care. How our community and leaders respond in this moment will determine if it can survive.

Now, Shelby Countians and our leaders have to decide if we’re willing to consume the biggest elephant of all. Numerous media reports have indicated that GOP leadership is threatening to withhold funding for the FedEx Forum and the proposed soccer stadium if the Shelby County Commission reappoints Representative Pearson to the legislature.

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Letter to the Editor: ‘The issue is gun control’

2:03 PM CT, April 11

Two black representatives were expelled from the Tennessee House of Representatives for supporting a student protest. One white representative was not expelled. Those who lost their elected representative see bias in this.

But the issue is gun control. Students all over the state are furious that assault weapons are being used to kill them and their teachers.

Most Tennesseans support a ban on the assault weapons used to kill six people in a Nashville school. Yet no ban is considered by the super Republican majority in our statehouse. All that is considered is supporting mental health, armed guards for schools, and perhaps a red flag law.

Gov. Lee proposes ‘red flag’ gun law

I would like to know how a red flag law would have prevented these school killings. I’d like to know who would be hired as armed guards. Will they also carry assault weapons? Could the NRA and the gun manufactures perhaps give grants to pay them or supply their arms?

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Letter to the Editor: ‘Tennessee has become increasingly dangerous and oppressive’

2:04 PM CT, April 11

I live in Memphis, a primarily blue city in an overwhelmingly red state. I have Christian family and friends with “conservative” values and they support and vote for conservatives who propose and pass “conservative” legislation as is their right to do.

However, that red that y’all vote for? That’s blood — the blood of folks who are systemically and systematically oppressed and othered. The blood of folks who are marginalized and murdered (literally and figuratively) because they are not seen as human. That red is the blood of folks who are victimized by the state, whose rights are violated by the polity, and who are met with violence even when they go in peace.

Tennessee has become increasingly dangerous and oppressive for LGBTQIA folks, for disabled folks, for Black and brown folks, for working class and poor folks, for women and children, and for non-Christian conservative folks.

Tennessee House Republicans expel Pearson and Jones but not Johnson

The Tennessee GOP unfairly ousted Representatives Justin J. Pearson and Justin Jones for using their First Amendment right in support of students and others who demand gun control legislation. The Tennessee GOP has passed some of the most stringent anti-LGBQTIA bills in the nation such as SB 0001, which bans all gender-affirming care for minors in Tennessee.

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Letter to the Editor: ‘Ethos of Tennessee’ is not ‘what we envisioned’

2:04 PM CT, April 11

I am sending this letter to the editor in hopes that some sort of action will evolve from the concerned citizens of Tennessee to become more active and vigilant concerning the reputation and economic effects of legislative activities upon the cities and people of Tennessee.

My wife and I have been looking to relocate to a place we could call “home” and had decided that Memphis could well be that place. We found a home in East Memphis we felt would meet our needs and had even initiated the process on our end to fund a proper escrow account.

Things to know about the #TennesseeThree expulsion hearings

The Daily Memphian received an outpouring of letters and comments after the Tennessee state legislature voted on whether to expel the Tennessee Three from the House on April 6, 2023. Below are several of those comments.

The Daily Memphian continues to accept letters and comments to the editor regarding the issues of gun control reform, the Tennessee Three and state legislative actions that affect the Memphis area.

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Opinion: When it comes to guns, ‘Stop talking to me about evil’

2:02 PM CT, April 11

I am a teacher and a Christian, and I am so sick of hearing everyone blame “evil” every time innocent children are slaughtered with guns. I literally cannot stand it anymore. It’s simply a cop-out.

So many people, even fellow educators, talk as if some mystical, mysterious force is firing these weapons – weapons that are more easy to access in our city than a good quality education.

The truth is that it is much easier for us to blame some dark and abstract force than to acknowledge our own shortcomings as a nation. I know that evil does exist. For instance, it exists in the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Japan, Germany and so many other places around the world. And yet nowhere on Earth are people who would commit heinous acts such as what happened at Covenant School more enabled than they are right here in the United States.

Gov. Lee proposes ‘red flag’ gun law

We enable evil every time we vote for politicians who are bought and paid for by the National Rifle Association, an organization that loves power and weapons more than children. Because that’s really what our problem is, isn’t it? Let’s just finally be honest about it. As a nation, we love the power of weapons and the power of politics more than we love the promise and beauty of innocent children. People deny it, but our actions show the truth.

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Tennessee three gun control Letters to the Editor opinion


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