In Tennessee, Justin Pearson and Justin Jones Are Fueled by Resistance

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The group appeared to have a tense exchange, according to a video posted on Twitter, in which Ms. Camper, 65, could be heard ordering the lawmakers off the floor. In an interview later, Ms. Camper said her intent was to protect them from expulsion, and she acknowledged the pair had provided a burst of energy to the Democrats.

“I did reflect on the ’60s,” she said.

Mr. Towns said it was a lawmaker’s duty to be effective and “bring things back” for the district. “There’s always a time to protest and there’s a certain way you can do it, but in any environment you go into, you must know the rules,” he said.

This week, Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, whose wife lost a friend in the shooting, called for the legislature to take up a measure that would give courts the ability to restrict someone’s ability to access guns if the person is deemed dangerous, and signed an executive order intended to strengthen background checks. Republicans have not yet publicly rallied behind such a measure, and the legislative session will soon end.

Both Mr. Pearson and Mr. Jones say the movement is evidence that their strategy is working.

On Thursday morning, after Mr. Pearson was reinstated, the pair embraced in the chamber. Mr. Pearson held his fist up high after retaking his oath of office. Almost immediately, the two men plunged into a heated debate with Republicans over an education bill they warned would stifle efforts to teach about racism and sexism in the United States. Republicans abruptly cut off debate over the bill, over the objections of Democrats.

“They really tried to silence those two young men like they have the rest of us, but they have a different way,” Mr. McKenzie said. “It’s just a different generation. They have a different way of communication. They have a different tolerance level. They’re more immediate, ‘I want my say right now.’”

Eliza Fawcett contributed reporting.

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