New Texas Capitol security measures aimed at preventing ‘physical combat’

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Protestors at Texas State Capitol_497759

AUSTIN (KXAN) — New security rules at the Texas Capitol are meant to curb violent protests while protecting free speech, the Department of Public Safety said in a release announcing the changes effective immediately.

“It has been observed that some individuals or groups seek violent confrontations during protests and equip themselves for physical combat,” DPS said in a release Thursday, explaining that much of the new rules ban items that could be used in that way. Additionally, while citizens have a right to counter protest, DPS says they “must do so at a distance sufficient to avoid physical altercations.”

Below is a list of items that will not be allowed, although DPS may also prohibit other items:

  • Firearms and other deadly weapons, except when authorized under License to Carry authority
  • Improvised items used to lock a person to another person or object
  • Plastic bottles containing alcohol or non-consumable substances
  • Open flame torches
  • Metal signs
  • Metal, plastic, and wood objects longer than 12 inches
  • Sticks or other objects with protruding nails
  • Balloons not filled with air, oxygen or helium
  • Bricks, stones or rocks
  • Projectile launchers, including water cannons
  • Spray paint cans
  • Gas masks or similar equipment
  • Glass bottles
  • Hammers
  • Crow bars
  • Toxic fluid, gas or solids in any container
  • Improvised shields
  • Helmets
  • Drones
  • Pepper spray
  • Tasers

“These measures are aimed at preventing violent confrontations during protests and demonstrations; maintaining order; and protecting all Capitol visitors from injury or infringement of constitutional rights,” DPS said.

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