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Madison Czopek
By Madison Czopek April 4, 2023

Protesters against gun violence didn’t make their way onto the Tennessee House floor

If Your Time is short

  • On a segment of "The Ingraham Angle," Fox News host Laura Ingraham played a video that had been filmed during a protest at the Tennessee Capitol and suggested protesters had "made their way onto" the floor of the House of Representatives. 

  • The video doesn’t show unauthorized protesters on the House floor. It shows three Democratic legislators who took over the lectern and led chants echoed by protesters who had gathered in the viewing galleries, which were open to the public.

Protesters calling for legislative action against gun violence marched on Tennessee’s state Capitol March 30, three days after three adults and three children were killed in a deadly mass shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee.

The protest, which happened less than 6 miles from where the shooting occurred, received national media attention. On a segment of "The Ingraham Angle," Fox News host Laura Ingraham played videos that had been filmed during the protest.

"Similar chaos yesterday in Tennessee, where hundreds protested at the Capitol there, calling for a gun ban and berating the Republican-led legislature," Ingraham said March 31. "They even made their way onto the state Capitol floor."

The clip that played after her claim showed a man standing on the Tennessee House floor, holding a megaphone and a sign. He led an off-camera crowd in chants of "no justice, no peace," and "enough is enough."

Text under the clip read, "Leftist agitators storm state capitols."

A Facebook post of this "Ingraham Angle" segment was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

On March 30, hundreds of protesters flooded the Capitol hallways and the Senate and House public viewing galleries, chanting phrases like "shame on you," "save our children," and "children are dead, and you don’t care."

But the video clip Ingraham played did not show unauthorized protesters on the floor of the Tennessee House of Representatives. 

It showed Tennessee state Rep. Justin Jones, D-Nashville, holding a megaphone and a "protect kids not guns" sign, flanked by state Reps. Justin J. Pearson, D-Memphis, and Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville. The three lawmakers took over the lectern on the House floor and led chants echoed by the protesters gathered in the galleries, which are open to the public. 

"The people on the floor were elected officials," said Wes Moster, a spokesperson for Tennessee’s Department of Safety and Homeland Security, which oversees Tennessee Capitol security.

Moster said that there was no violence or destruction of property during the protest, nor did law enforcement officers make any arrests. 

Featured Fact-check

PolitiFact found no evidence that shows protesters made their way onto the House floor.

Fox News did not respond to a request for comment. 

In its segment, "The Ingraham Angle" credited the video to The Tennessee Holler, which had tweeted the video at about 11:35 a.m. local time. The Tennessee Holler describes itself as a "progressive news site."

"HAPPENING NOW: Democrats @brotherjokes_ @Justinjpearson @VoteGloriaJ have taken over the well and disrupted session," The Tennessee Holler wrote, tagging the lawmakers the clip shows at the lectern.

Just more than an hour later, that video clip was shared without necessary context.

The conservative nonprofit organization Media Research Center, for example, included the clip in a tweet that said, "Leftists storm the Tennessee Capitol demanding more gun control measures." 

In a response, The Tennessee Holler called the Media Research Center tweet "misleading."

"The people in that second video (ours) are elected representatives," the group wrote in a tweet.

Republican leadership removed Jones, Pearson and Johnson from their committees for their actions March 30. Republicans have also filed resolutions to expel them, saying the three lawmakers had intentionally brought disorder and dishonor to the House by participating in "disorderly behavior." 

Our ruling

Ingraham said a video clip showed that protesters in Tennessee "made their way onto the state Capitol floor."

The video showed three Democrats, all elected state representatives, who on March 30 disrupted the legislative session to call for action against gun violence. There’s no evidence unauthorized protesters made their way onto the House floor, however. 

We rate this claim False.

Our Sources

"The Ingraham Angle" on Fox News, March 31, 2023

Facebook post, April 1, 2023

Emailed interview with Wes Moster, a spokesperson for Tennessee’s Department of Safety and Homeland Security, April 3, 2023

Tennessee Lookout, House Speaker equates Nashville’s peaceful protests against gun violence with Jan. 6 insurrection, March 31, 2023

Tennessee Lookout, Chaos erupts at Tennessee Capitol over demand for gun safety measures, March 30, 2023

Tennessee Lookout, From grief to action in Nashville, protesters demand change at the state capitol, March 30, 2023

CBS News, Hundreds protest at Tennessee Capitol for tighter gun controls after Nashville shooting, March 30, 2023

Tennessee General Assembly, House of Representatives, accessed April 3, 2023

Tweet from Justin Kanew, March 31, 2023

WKMS, Tennessee House Speaker says Dem reps "tried to cause an insurrection" during Thursday’s protests, March 31, 2023

WPLN News, Republicans bar three Democrats from committees following their gun control protest on Tennessee House floor, April 3, 2023, Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security annual report fiscal year 2020/2021, December 2021

The Tennessee Holler tweet, March 30, 2023

WBIR, Republicans remove Rep. Gloria Johnson, 2 others from committee assignments after gun reform protests, April 3, 2023

The Associated Press, Tennessee House moves to expel 3 Democrats after gun protest, April 4, 2023

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Protesters against gun violence didn’t make their way onto the Tennessee House floor

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