Saturday, July 13, 2013

You’re Allowed To Carry A Gun Into The Texas Senate Gallery, But Not A Tampon

On Friday afternoon, the Texas Senate will vote on a package of abortion restrictions that Republican lawmakers have been attempting to push through a special session. After State Sen. Wendy Davis (D-TX) successfully blocked a vote on the legislation last month with a 13-hour filibuster that was aided by disruptions from hundreds of protesters in the gallery, Senate Republicans aren’t taking any chances this time.

According to Jessica Luther, a freelance writer and pro-choice activist who has been coordinating much of the push-back to the proposed abortion restrictions over the past few weeks, Senate officials are confiscating any objects they believe may cause a similar disruption in the gallery during Friday’s vote. Protesters aren’t allowed to carry water bottles or even feminine hygiene products, just in case they might throw them at lawmakers:

Even though the Texas legislature may not be comfortable with feminine hygiene products, it’s a bit more relaxed when it comes to firearms. Individuals with concealed carry licenses are permitted to bring their guns into the Senate gallery. In fact, a Texas Republican recently insinuated he might do just that during the current special session.

In a recent interview with the National Review Online, state Rep. Jonathan Strickland (R) expressed concern over becoming the target of violence as thousands of angry pro-choice activists rally at the capitol. When asked whether those concerns would inspire him to carry a hidden gun this session, he said he couldn’t legally answer that question. But he did add, “I very, very often do concealed-carry, I can say that.”

Since activists aren’t allowed to carry tampons or pads on their person, they have asked supporters to send feminine products to the capitol building so they can stock the bathrooms for the women who may need them.


Early in the morning on Saturday, The Texas Senate voted 19 to 11 to approve the anti-abortion bill. The legislation now heads to Gov. Rick Perry (R), who will sign it into law.

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