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Guns Are Allowed, But Protest Signs Banned In Tennessee Legislature

Protesters at Tennessee legislature in 2015.Screengrab/Knoxville News Sentinel/YouTube

Guns are permissible when visiting the state legislature, but handheld signs "represent a serious safety hazard".

The new home of Tennessee's legislature will be a sign-free zone, according to the Tennessean, but people may feel free to bring their guns when visiting the Cordell Hull building.

Though protesters and concerned citizens have been spotted on several occasions with handheld signs at Legislative Plaza - the state legislature's previous home - such dangerous paraphernalia will not be tolerated in the new building:

The policy, which Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, and House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, approved Dec. 14, expressly prohibits “hand-carried signs and signs on hand sticks” because they “represent a serious safety hazard.”

The director of legislative administration, Connie Ridley, said hand-held signs were against the rules in Legislative Plaza as well, suggesting the prohibition was not previously enforced.

So what can Tennesseans carry with them to visit the state legislature?

Earlier this year, McNally and Harwell implemented a new policy that would allow Tennesseans with a valid gun permit to bring weapons into the building. Prior to the move, guns were not allowed in Legislative Plaza.