House steps up security for 2017 legislature UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, January 5, 2017

House steps up security for 2017 legislature UPDATE

Posted By on Thu, Jan 5, 2017 at 2:09 PM

click to enlarge MORE SECURE: Screening will be required before entering the House gallery this legislative session.
  • MORE SECURE: Screening will be required before entering the House gallery this legislative session.

Security measures are being increased for spectator galleries and entrances to the Arkansas House.

A release from Speaker Jeremy Gillam

Arkansas House Speaker Jeremy Gillam is directing that increased security measures be put in place for the House Chamber. Metal detectors have now been placed at the entrances to the House galleries.

“In addition to the increased screening at entry points, I have also directed that additional security guards be stationed at public entrances to the House,” said Speaker Gillam. “These additional measures may result in a few more minutes for individuals to enter the House. The knowledge that our members and the public are in a safe facility is well worth the time.”

All individuals interested in watching House proceedings in the Chamber are encouraged to come to the screening checkpoints several minutes in advance of proceedings.

Entrances to the House gallery are located on the 4th floor on the north side of the Capitol.
The release made no mention of whether any specific thing prompted the changes. A spokesman said it was just "precautionary." I'm also inquiring about any additional measures in the Senate.

UPDATE: A spokesman said he was unaware of any changes in Senate security procedures this session.

There's been talk of legislation expanding gun carrying protection in Arkansas, particularly on college campuses, but some insist open carry is already the law. Until now, law has made the Capitol off limits for guns. Some states allow guns in their statehouses. If they do indeed increase safety, you'd think legislators would want more firepower in the galleries, not less.

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