Gun-toting Texans to skip security
Published 19/07/2010 | 12:47
People who carry a gun into the Texas Capitol building in the US do not have to be checked by security and get a 'fast-pass' into the building, it was revealed.
A unique loophole in a new security procedure means a gun permit is like a special-access pass into the domed building, allowing people who are certified to carry a gun to bypass lines at the metal detectors set up after a shooting incident earlier this year.
"Nobody wants to be the one standing in line behind three hundred kids wearing the same coloured T-shirt," said University of Texas political scientist Jim Henson.
"If you're trying to get in and out really quick and there's going to be choke points, well, people don't want to have to deal with that."
There's now a frenzy for people to get trained and licensed to carry a firearm, especially before the legislative session begins in January.
It's not required that people have a gun to enter the Capitol through the express lane - merely holding a valid permit, and presenting it at the entrance, will get them expedited entry.
"Everybody is doing it or is planning to do it," said lobbyist Bill Miller, who has taken the required training and is waiting for his license to arrive in the mail.
The metal detectors were installed at the Capitol's four public entrances in May, a few months after a man fired off a few rounds outside the doors of the main entrance. No one was harmed.
Texas law allows people to carry a weapon if they have a permit and as long as the gun is concealed. A separate lane for license-holders had to be created so gun-toters could enter without having to pull out their weapons - or unconceal them - along with their wallets and keys.
It's all been great for business, said Mike Cox, who has become the go-to guy to train political insiders on getting their gun permits. "There's been a burst of interest. They want to get that express tag to gain entrance to the Capitol," Cox said.