Tennessee state Rep. Justin Jones (D) scorched newly-elected House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) for pointing to “the human heart “as “the problem” in mass shootings in the wake of the Maine massacre that killed 18 people last week.
Jones, a “Tennessee Three” member who joined protesters calling for stricter gun control before Republicans expelled him from the state’s House in April, reacted to a clip of Johnson telling Fox News’ Sean Hannity that guns aren’t the problem and “we have to protect the right of the citizens to protect themselves.”
“I want to let Speaker Johnson know that in my faith tradition, when you put objects above people, we call that idolatry. And when you put the lives of people under money and campaign contributions, we call that idolatry,” Jones told MSNBC’s Jen Psaki in a plea for “common sense gun laws” on Sunday.
“And so let’s not use faith and false thoughts and prayers to gloss over this issue.”
Jones continued his response to Johnson, who offered his prayers in response to the Maine massacre, by calling on lawmakers to pray with their “feet and hands and signing legislation.”
He went on to cite mass shootings at Nashville’s Covenant School, where three children and three adults were killed in March, and another in 2018 that left four people dead at a Waffle House in the city’s Antioch neighborhood.
Jones called Johnson’s comments “insulting to grieving communities” to try and “use religiosity” to dismiss others’ pain until the next mass shooting.
The deadly attack in Maine last week is among 580 mass shootings in America this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Over 35,700 people have been killed due to gun violence in America this year.
“And so I hope that Speaker Johnson does not wait until a mass shooting hits his community act. But I hope that he acts according to not an issue of left or right but recognizes that this issue of gun violence is a moral issue of right and wrong and history will watch where he stands in this time,” Jones said.
“History will judge him, his children will judge him and future generations will judge him because we’re sick and tired of living in this world of preventable mass death because of an extreme minority that have hijacked our democracy.”