Certain items prohibited on Capitol Grounds
AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is implementing certain security measures at the Texas Capitol Complex and Capitol Grounds to enhance safety. 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.
It has been observed that some individuals or groups seek violent confrontations during protests and equip themselves for physical combat. To ensure the safety and security of the general public and those who seek to exercise their right to peacefully assemble and protest, effective immediately, certain items may be prohibited from the Capitol Grounds unless worn or carried by a licensed peace officer.
Any item manifestly designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of preparing a person to engage in physical combat may be prohibited, including but not limited to:
- 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
- Crow bars
- Toxic fluid, gas or solids in any container
- Improvised shields
- Pepper spray
Additionally, citizens have a right to counter protest, but within the Capitol Complex, they must do so at a distance sufficient to avoid physical altercations.
As is standard practice, DPS law enforcement officers will maintain enforcement discretion related to these new measures and may determine whether a reasonable public safety threat exists on a case by case basis.
By statute, DPS has the authority and primary responsibility for law enforcement and security services over the Capitol Complex, which includes the Capitol Grounds.