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What's Prohibited Where

Many readers have been writing in to ask us about what they can and can't bring to inaugural events. Prohibited items for inauguration day have been popping up a lot in the news lately, but the reports don’t provide a full picture of what’s forbidden and what’s not. To make things easier, the following list is a compilation of some prohibited items, according to information provided by inauguration commitee, Secret Service and Metro officials.

The Obvious

  • No firearms (real or simulated)

  • No mace or pepper spray

  • No fireworks or other explosives

  • No animals other than service animals

  • No knives, blades or sharp objects

  • No pocket or hand tools such as the “Leatherman”

  • Security screeners have the power to prohibit any items that may pose a threat to the security of the event.

On the Mall

  • No tents or that includes no camping out

  • No glass bottles-

  • No alcohol

On the Metro

  • No bicycles for the entire inauguration weekend

  • No signs or placards more than 18 inches by 18 inches

  • No signs or placards affixed to a pole

  • No using metro bathrooms -- they will be closed for security purposes

  • No parking at Greenbelt, Van Dorn Street or Morgan Boulevard stations

  • No plastic or checks for Metro parking -- cash only

Along the Parade Route and at Official Balls

  • No bicycles

  • No backpacks, large bags, suitcases or duffel bags. Bags smaller than 8 inches by 6 inches by 4 inches are allowed.

  • No aerosol cans, which could include silly string

  • No coolers

  • No thermal or glass containers

  • No chairs or strollers

  • Signs are allowed, but only if they are no more than 3 feet in length, 20 feet wide or a quarter inch thick. They must be made out of poster board, cardboard or cloth.

  • Cameras are allowed; tripods and camera bags are not

  • No staking out spots until 7 a.m.

On Capitol Grounds

  • Ticketed attendees only

  • No strollers

  • No laser pointers

  • No umbrellas

  • No posters

  • No food or beverages, but small snacks are allowed

  • No thermoses or coolers

  • No backpacks, large bags, suitcases or duffel bags

-- By Brittany Levine

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  December 31, 2008; 4:50 PM ET  | Category:  Answers , Parade , Security , Swearing-in Ceremony
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My sisters and I are planning to come to Washington for the inauguration. Since we're all getting up in years we planned ahead and bought 3-legged canes that convert into a sports seat (from Magellans.com) to aid us in all the anticipated walking, as well as to have a place to periodically sit and rest. Now that we've seen the prohibited list we're not sure if these items would be considered prohibited. Does anyone know of any way to check and see if they are permitted (an email adress maybe)?

Posted by: miafl48 | January 1, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

This is a response to miafl48 from the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies: You and your sisters are welcome to bring your canes. Canes, walkers, wheelchairs and other devices designed to assist mobility are permitted on Capitol grounds. If you have questions about other issues, please check our website, inaugural.senate.gov.

Posted by: florwoman | January 3, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

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