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New security measures at Virginia Capitol make for long lines

There were two lines that were blocks-long each, one for employees and those with credentials, the other for the public. (Source: NBC12)
There were two lines that were blocks-long each, one for employees and those with credentials, the other for the public. (Source: NBC12)(WHSV)
Published: Jan. 13, 2020 at 3:21 PM EST
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Monday was the first day back in session for the Virginia General Assembly after the Joint Rules Committee

and all of its Legislative buildings.

The new policies made for some pretty long lines, as hundreds, if not thousands, of people waited in line to enter the Pocahontas building during the morning

There were two lines that were blocks-long each: one for employees and those with credentials, the other for the public.

“People are inconvenienced, you know we’ve never had lines like that outside of the General Assembly, screening people," said Senator Amanda Chase.

The Chesterfield Republican senator said legislators are the only citizens being allowed into the capitol and its buildings without being screened.

To get inside, the process is similar to going through an airport—you will now have to send all belongings through an x-ray machine, walk through a metal detector, and be checked with a wand. They’re checking for weapons after the Joint Rules Committee vote.

“You know, we are basically disarming law-abiding citizens and that’s grave concern," said Chase. “People are concerned about having to leave their firearm in their vehicle and then walking.”

One person who was fine with going through checks was James McCool.

“Dump all your junk, walk through, get wanded, pick up your junk, and go home!" said McCool.

James had to have his knife checked by security.

“They said 'is it over three inches?' I said, ‘Heck if I know!’ They measured it, and it was under three inches," said McCool, “I would’ve had to either give it up or stayed outside."

He said the benefits of being checked outweighed the possible risk

“There’s a lot of crazy people out there and just my luck if somebody got through and was violent, I would’ve gotten the benefit of it!”

We asked security if this is going to be the new protocol, and they said ‘yes.’

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