Some recent visitors to the White House might have noticed a new decoration around the property.
Some new signs have been posted a couple weeks ago that remind visitors not to bring guns or any weapons onto the premises.
The new signs are posted just outside the guard posts and threaten fines and prison time for violating the no weapon policy.
But here’s the kicker. The signs were supposed to be up 28 years ago and no one really knows why it has taken so long to put them up.
The signs are actually required by law in order to enforce the no weapons policy, but Secret Service says it has not stopped them from arresting and convicting people before.
The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 is the law that dictated the signs be posted.
According to USA Today,
“The signs were put up literally because we have to by law,” said David Iacovetti, the deputy assistant director of public affairs for the U.S. Secret Service. “The only way we can search somebody and have those charges stick is have the sign posted.”
Under Section 930 of the federal criminal code, it’s a federal Class A misdemeanor to bring a firearm or dangerous weapon into a federal facility, punishable by up to a year in prison. If you intend to commit a crime with that weapon, it becomes a Class E felony, with up to five years in prison.
But there’s a catch. The same law requires that notice of the penalties “be posted conspicuously at each public entrance to each federal facility.” Without the notice, a person can’t be convicted.
Iacovetti said the Secret Service installed the signs last month on the advice of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, which prosecutes federal crimes in the nation’s capital.