The metal detectors have gone LIVE! at the State Capitol today, the Department of Public Safety says, so visitors should add hours of fun to their planned trip to the building.
It should be all the fun of the Harris County courthouses, with the added thrill of getting to the building just as two busloads of fifth-graders from Big Spring have gotten in line ahead of you, no doubt carrying box cutters, bomb-laden sneakers and Stinger anti-aircraft missile launchers. (They play for keeps in Big Spring.)
And remember, as you grumble in line and look for someone to blame -- Governor Rick Perry vehemently objected to these metal detectors!! But, as always, state agencies chose to ignore his demands.
DPS's Tela Mange tells us the things you need to know if you're going to the Big Pink in Austin (Good news! They will check to see if your concealed-carry gun license has been revoked lately!):
-- Metal detectors will be installed at all Capitol entrances on the first floor. All visitors will be required to go through the metal detectors. General public access will be allowed at all of these entrances for all visitors, including scheduled tours and schoolchildren.
-- There will be designated official access points for legislators and staff, who will not have to go through the metal detectors if they have their building access badge.
-- Concealed handgun license holders and law enforcement officers not in uniform will show their concealed handgun license or agency credentials to avoid going through the metal detectors; troopers will check to make sure that the CHL has not been revoked.
-- When going through the metal detectors, visitors will be asked to remove metal objects before they walk through. Troopers will search bags as necessary. Officers will apply state criminal statutes if they discover unauthorized weapons.
-- Wheelchair-bound visitors will not have to go through the metal detectors; troopers will use handheld wands to check for weapons.
Our advice: Rent a wheelchair.
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