Jan. 18, 2012: In Augusta, Capitol Police Chief Russell Gauvin reports that a new security checkpoint at the west entrance of the State House is complete and operational. Workers at that entrance run scanning machines similar to those found in airports.

The public no longer is able to enter the State House through any of the building’s other doors.

The decision to install the checkpoint comes after the shooting of U.S. Rep Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona and after a Maine House of Representatives member was charged with pointing a gun at a man in a parking lot, both in 2011. Even before those incidents, however, Republicans had been urging adoption of additional security measures at the State House. Democrats said the expense was unnecessary.

Joseph Owen is a retired copy desk chief of the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. He can be contacted at: jowen@mainetoday.com.

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