On Monday, The Nashville Metropolitan Council voted to reappoint Fisk University Alum Justin Jones as an interim representative, after he was removed last week by Republicans for protesting gun violence on the House floor.

The lawmakers, known as the “Tennessee Three,” Jones and another Black Democrat, Justin Pearson, lost their seats after calling for gun reform during a protest on the chamber floor. The third Democrat who joined them, Rep. Gloria Johnson, a white woman, was the only one who was not expelled.

Rep. Justin Jones, D-Nashville, walks into the House chamber with Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville, in Nashville, Tenn., on Monday. Credit: George Walker IV / AP

Just four days after Jones was expelled, the council unanimously supported reinstating him and suspended a procedural rule that prevents an individual from being nominated and appointed to the seat in the same meeting.

Jones was sworn in on the steps of the state Capitol and was welcomed with cheers as he returned to the House floor. He raised his fist as he entered the House chamber while supporters chanted, “Welcome home!”

“I want to welcome democracy back to the people’s house,” Jones said in a speech on the House floor. “I want to thank you all, not for what you did, but for awakening the people of this state, particularly the young people. Thank you for reminding us that the struggle for justice is fought and won in every generation.”

After the city council decision, Jones later joined demonstrators at City Hall in a march to the state Capitol.

Speaking from the steps of the Capitol, Jones told the crowd: “Today we are sending a resounding message that democracy will not be killed in the comfort of silence.”

State Rep. Justin Jones delivers remarks outside the state Capitol, in Nashville on Monday. Credit: George Walker IV/AP

Pearson also joined the march and spoke to the crowd as he stood on the steps of the Capitol alongside Jones.

“To anyone who has doubted the South, anyone who’s doubted the power of Tennesseans to advocate for an end to gun violence, anybody who’s doubted the movement to end assault weapons – anybody who’s doubted the movement, here’s your answer: The movement still lives,” said Pearson.

Jones and Pearson’s expulsion was met with protests and outrage in Nashville, with countless calling for their reinstatement. On Saturday, Jones’ alma mater, Fisk University held a rally to show support for the Tennessee Three at the university’s Memorial Chapel.

Eight hundred people came out to the rally, according to WZTV, including Vice President Kamala Harris who gave a speech.

“The children should be able to live and be safe and go to school and not be in fear,” she said. “A democracy says you don’t silence the people. You do not stifle the people. You don’t turn off their microphones when they are speaking. You don’t turn off their mic when they are talking about the importance of life and liberty” Harris said in her speech.

Students at the rally said they were inspired by Jones for taking a stand and supporting gun control.

“For Justin Jones, I’m just really proud of him. He is a ‘fisk-ite’. So, just seeing him to stand up for what he believes in, honestly just really motivates me,” Loveli Folkes, a Fisk University student told WZTV.

Although, Jones is once again the representative of House District 52, this time in the interim. State law allows local legislative bodies to appoint interim House members to fill the seats of expelled lawmakers until an election is held.

Since he is now considered a new member, Jones said he can file 15 bills. He’ll be working on gun reform legislation as soon as he returns Tuesday, he told CNN. He said each of those bills would have to do with gun reform, because “that’s what these young people are begging us to do.”

The Tennessee House Republicans released a statement regarding Jones’ reinstatement on Monday, saying, “Tennessee’s constitution provides a pathway back from expulsion. Should any expelled member be reappointed, we will welcome them. Like everyone else, they are expected to follow the rules of the House as well as state law.”

As for Pearson, his future in the House of Representatives will be addressed Wednesday during a Shelby County Board of Commissioners meeting in Memphis Chairman Mickell Lowery announced Sunday.

According to the Tennessee Constitution, since there are more than 12 months until the next general election in November 2024, a special election will be held to fill the seats.

No date has been set for a special election, but state law says the governor should schedule them within 55 to 60 days.

Both Jones and Pearson qualify to run for their seats again in the special election and both said that they will seek re-election.