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More Items Banned in Capitol

Effective today, the Capitol Police Department has expanded the list of items visitors are prohibited from bringing into the Capitol.

Among the most significant changes to the prohibitions, which the department announced Friday, are specific size restrictions on bags, limiting visitors to items no larger than 14 inches wide by 13 inches high by 4 inches deep.

The pervious guidelines, established in December 2001 following the anthrax attacks on Capitol Hill, more generally prohibited “oversized suitcases, duffel bags, and oversized backpacks.”

“They’re trying to limit the amount that one person could bring into the building,” said Officer Michael Lauer, a department spokesman.

The prohibitions, which apply only to the public and not to Congressional lawmakers or their staffs, may be lifted for visitors on official business “if it’s deemed necessary for them to conduct their business,” Lauer said.

Additional restrictions include the banning of “electric stun guns, martial arts weapons or devices,” “guns, replica guns, ammunition and fireworks,” and “any pointed object” such as knitting needles or letter openers, although pens and pencils will be permitted.

Among the items already prohibited on Capitol tours are aerosol and non-aerosol sprays, cans and bottles, food and beverages, knives, razors, box cutters, mace and pepper spray.

— Jennifer Yachnin

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