New Measures Implemented to Enhance Safety at Texas Capitol
Specific items prohibited on Capitol Grounds
AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is implementing specific security measures at the Texas Capitol Complex and Capitol Grounds to enhance safety. These actions are to prevent violent confrontations during protests and demonstrations; maintaining order; and protecting all Capitol visitors from injury or infringement of constitutional rights.
Security 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 try to exercise their right to assemble and protest peacefully, the following items may be prohibited, effective immediately. Banned from the Capitol Grounds unless worn or carried by a licensed peace officer.
Any item manifestly designed, made, or adapted to prepare 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 on 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
- 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.