Senate Speaker Randy McNally and House Speaker Beth Harwell have approved a new policy that prohibits “hand-carried signs and signs on hand sticks” at the Legislature because they “represent a serious safety hazard,” reports The Tennessean. The speakers had earlier approved a policy change to allow handgun permit holders to bring their weapons to legislative hearings and offices.

Ken Paulson, who serves as president of Middle Tennessee State University’s First Amendment Center and dean of the school’s College of Media and Entertainment, said, “Any rational person would have to suspect that this is an attempt in part to limit dissent and to avoid embarrassment to lawmakers.”

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