The March 27 mass shooting at Nashville’s Covenant School claimed the lives of three children all under the age of 10. Communities across the city and across the country were outraged, leading to protests in the House of Representatives. Democratic Reps. Justin Jones, Justin Pearson, and Gloria Johnson joined their constituents’ calls for change to protect the lives of children. Jones and Pearson were ousted by the Republican-led assembly for their participation.

Jones and Pearson, the two youngest Black members of the state House, were reinstated in their positions less than a week after being expelled. Even before returning to the Capitol, they vowed to continue fighting to enact gun control legislation. Since returning as interim representatives, they’ve done just that. On Monday (April 17), Jones carried an infant-sized casket into the building as protesters outside were blocked from entering. Security stopped Jones from bringing the casket onto the House floor, leading him to hand it off to Pearson at the doorway.

Bishop William Barber II led the protest in Nashville calling for action. After the demonstrators outside were stopped from coming in, Jones marched with Barber and several others to the House chamber. After trying unsuccessfully to get the attention of Republican House Speaker Cameron Sexton, Pearson took the small casket in his own hands at the entrance to the room.

“The legislators are back, but returning duly elected lawmakers to their seat does not solve the problem,” Barber said of Jones and Pearson’s return to the state House of Representatives, according to the AP. He insisted that in order for lives to be improved and for violence to stop, lawmakers must “stop committing policy murder.”

After the Covenant School shooting, Republican Gov. Bill Lee urged the legislature to pass legislation that would keep firearms away from dangerous people. Rather than side with the state leader from their own party, the Republican supermajority has refused to act.