Inside Texas' state legislature, loaded guns are fairly common. As the New York Times reported in March, "Just as Texas has long embraced its guns, so has the Capitol. Legislators have walked the terrazzo hallways, attended committee hearings, met with constituents in their offices and voted on the floors of their respective chambers while armed with licensed high-powered pistols tucked beneath their suits or slipped into their boots or purses."
But as debate begins in the state Senate on sweeping restrictions to reproductive rights, tampons are being confiscated. No, seriously.
Women are being forced to throw out tampons and maxi pads to enter the Senate gallery, which has been confirmed by DPS. [...]However, people with concealed handgun licenses are allowed to bypass long lines to enter the Gallery through the expedited CHL entrance, and per DPS, if a person has a CHL, they can take their gun into the gallery.
For the record, this is not a joke. I've confirmed this with many people in Austin this afternoon.
Apparently, conservatives believe progressive activists will, after the vote, throw tampons at Republican state lawmakers who approve the bill. So, anything that "can be thrown at" the senators is being confiscated before citizens can enter the gallery.
Sometimes the war on women is offensive, and sometimes, it's just farcical. When tampons are considered more dangerous than loaded firearms, I think it's safe to say Texas Republicans have gone off the deep end.
Ironically, GOP leaders in Austin said they intended to prevent a "circus atmosphere" in the state Senate today. So much for that idea.
Update: For more on this story, you can reference our previous coverage, including yesterday's state House vote and state Sen. Wendy Davis' (D) dramatic filibuster two weeks ago. There's also Stand With Texas Women on Tumblr and the #txlege hastag on Twitter.
Second Update: It's not just Texas; Republicans in North Carolina are advancing new restrictions on reproductive rights this afternoon, too.
Third Update: It appears the public attention was too embarrassing -- according to the Texas Tribune, law enforcement eventually stopped the confiscation of tampons. It's not clear if women whose tampons were taken from them unfairly will be able to reclaim them from police at the Capitol, but I rather doubt it.