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FAQ Regarding Items Prohibited from Federal Property

The Federal Protective Service (FPS) works with facility security committees in accordance with 18 USC 930 to identify items restricted from entry into federal properties to help ensure the safety and security of its occupants.  This site provides employees and visitors to federal buildings with information on what items are prohibited, and answers other commonly asked questions.

The Prohibited Items Program

In the spring of 2013, the Federal Protective Service (FPS) implemented a new directive entitled the Prohibited Items Program (FPS Directive 15.9.3.1. (Rev. 1). The Prohibited Items Program sets forth FPS’ policy for applying security force countermeasures to mitigate prohibited item entry at Federal properties. The intent of the policy is to provide risk-based recommendations to Facility Security Committees regarding security screening, visitor processing, and the development of prohibited items lists and accommodation policies as well as establishing FPS policies and procedures for addressing prohibited items. The Facility Security Committee is responsible for determining the security countermeasures and prohibited item list for a particular Federal facility. FPS is responsible for implementing the security countermeasures and enforcing the prohibited items list developed by the Facility Security Committee.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is a prohibited item?

Federal Protective Service defines a prohibited item is an item that is restricted from entry into a facility by Federal, state or local law, regulation, court order, rule, or by the Facility Security Committee. A prohibited item may be legal or illegal in nature.

What types of items are prohibited from entry into Federal property?

Pursuant to the Interagency Security Committee Standard, Items Prohibited from Federal Facilities, each Facility Security Committee or Designated Official should develop a facility-specific list of prohibited items. The prohibited items list may include both legal and illegal items. For example, it is illegal to attempt to enter a Federal facility with weapons, explosives, incendiary devices, and illicit drugs, even if it is legal to possess a firearm or drugs in a state or city. Facility Security Committees can also prohibit otherwise legal items that they perceive could be used to cause harm to the Federal facility or persons thereon. For example, sporting equipment, such as a hockey stick, baseball bat, or golf clubs might be listed as prohibited items at a Federal facility. If the Facility Security Committee does not have a prohibited items list, FPS by default will use the Interagency Security Committee’s recommended prohibited items list.

Where can I find the prohibited items list for a facility?

The prohibited items list is developed by the Facility Security Committee or Designated Official at each Federal facility. The prohibited items list is maintained by FPS contracted Protective Security Officers (PSOs) that operate the screening posts of the facility. Further information regarding certain prohibited illegal items such as weapons, explosives, and narcotics can be found at 18 U.S.C. § 930 and 41 C.F.R. Part 102-74, Subpart C.

Where can I find the rules and regulations for a Federal facility?

The Rules and Regulations Governing Conduct on Federal Property are displayed at the public entrances to Federal facilities. They may also be found at 41 C.F.R. Part 102-74, Subpart C or at: https://www.gsa.gov/policy-regulations/regulations/federal-management-regulation-fmr?asset=89939#wp2017546

What is the consequence if I attempt to access a Federal facility with a prohibited item?

The consequence will depend on the prohibited item. If it is an illegal prohibited item, you may be subject to detention and/or arrest. If the item is legal, but included on the prohibited items list, you will be required to remove the item from the Federal property before you are allowed to enter the Federal facility.

Do I need to show my ID?

A requirement to show identification before entering a Federal facility is determined by the Facility Security Committee. Additionally, Federal regulations allow agencies to require identification when the facility or an affected portion is closed to the general public.

Can I change my mind and decide to leave the facility once I have initiated the screening process?

No. You may not terminate a screening event once the screening process has been initiated.

What is the consequence if I refuse to comply with access procedures?

If you refuse to comply with the facility’s access procedures, you will be denied access to the facility. Additionally, if you refuse to comply with the facility’s access procedures once you have initiated the screening process, you could be subject to detention and/or arrest.

I am a state or local law enforcement officer. Can I bring my service weapon with me?

No. It is unlawful for armed state or local law enforcement officers to possess a firearm in a Federal facility unless there is an official law enforcement purpose for the visit.

Do my children also need go through the security screening process?

Yes. Adults will need to accompany minor children, including infants, through the access screening point. All children, carriers, and strollers are subject to metal detector, x-ray, visual, and/or pat down inspections as appropriate.

Do I need to put my laptop, cell phone or other electronic devices through the x-ray screening?

Yes. All electronic devises are subject to x-ray screening, visual, and manual inspections.

May I bring food and/or beverage items into a facility?

In most cases, food and beverage items are permitted. However, some facilities do not allow food and beverages to enter. For facilities where food and beverage items are allowed, such items may be hand-carried through the metal detector or may be subjected to x-ray screening, visual, and/or manual inspections, determined by the particular screening requirements of the Federal facility.

I require the use of an assistive device for mobility. Will I be required to comply with the facility’s access screening procedures?

Yes. Individuals who require the use of wheelchairs, crutches, canes, or other mobility aids are still subject to screening procedures. The assistive device may also be subject to visual, portable metal detector, and/or manual inspections.

I have a pacemaker. How will this affect my access to a Federal facility?

Please inform the FPS PSO upon entrance that you have a pacemaker. Individuals with a pacemaker can request alternative screening procedures. If you have a pacemaker, you will be subject to visual, portable metal detector and/or manual pat-down inspections. Any of your personal belongings such as a purse or backpack will still be subject to x-ray, metal detector, visual, and/or manual inspections.

I am pregnant and do not want to pass through a metal detector or x-ray machine. May I still access a Federal facility?

Yes. Please inform the FPS PSO upon entrance that you are pregnant. Pregnant women will not be required to pass through the metal detector, but will still be subject to visual, portable metal detector, and manual pat-down inspections. A portable metal detector may be used on all areas of the body except the abdominal region.

I am a Federal employee or contractor. My job requires that I bring items that are on the facility’s prohibited items list (such as office supplies and tools) to work with me. Will I be permitted access to the facility with these items?

Unless otherwise directed by the Facility Security Committee, office supplies and tools that are used by Federal employees and contractors in the performance of their official duties will not be deemed “prohibited items” to the extent they are used for a lawful purpose that is related to the Federal facility. Typically these items must be brought into the Federal facility through a designated screening post(s). Please refer any specific questions to the Facility Security Committee or FPS Inspector.

I have a prosthetic device or cast/splint. Am I required to follow the access screening procedures?

If you have a prosthetic device or cast/splint, you should inform the FPS PSO upon entrance to a Federal facility. You will not be required to pass through the metal detector, but may be subject to visual, portable metal detector, and manual pat-down inspections.

May I enter a Federal Facility with a service animal?

Yes. Service animals are permitted on Federal property. Visitors requiring the assistance of a service animal will still need to comply with the screening procedures of the facility including metal detector, visual, manual, and/or x-ray inspections. The service animal will also be subject to screening.

My religion requires that I wear clothing that obstructs the view of my face. How does the Federal Protective Service protect my religious interests during the access screening process?

Individuals wearing clothing, e.g., a burka or similar articles, as part of their religious practices must still comply with access screening procedures including the verification of identity. If you wear a burka, FPS will offer you the opportunity to verify identity in a secluded or private area. FPS will make an effort to provide female screeners in these situations, when available. In the event a female screener is not available, you may elect to come back at a later time or confirm your identity with a male screener in a secluded or private area away from public view.

Does the prohibited items program apply to my vehicle, if I drive or park on Federal property?

Yes. The Rules and Regulations Governing Conduct on Federal Property apply to the entire Federal property, not just Federal buildings.

I believe I have a legal right to enter a facility with an item on a facility’s prohibited items list. Can I request an accommodation for the item allowing me to possess it in the Federal facility?

Yes. You should inquire about how to request an accommodation with the FPS PSO of the specific Federal facility to which you seek access, including, but not limited to, accommodations based on civil rights, civil liberties, medical necessity, or disability under Federal laws such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The FPS PSO will provide contact information and procedures to complete an accommodation request. The Facility Security Committee maintains the authority to grant an accommodation for the item.

My religion requires that I carry an item that is on a prohibited items list. May I enter a Federal facility with this item?

You should inquire with the FPS PSO regarding the process to request a religious accommodation at the specific Federal facility to which you seek entry. The FPS PSO will provide contact information and procedures to complete a religious accommodation request with the Facility Security Committee. For example, someone of the Sikh religion who possesses a religious kirpan may request a religious accommodation from the Facility Security Committee. The Facility Security Committee maintains the authority to grant an accommodation for the item.

My request for an accommodation was denied by the Facility Security Committee. May I appeal this decision?

Yes. If the Facility Security Committee denied your request, you may make a verbal or written request with FPS personnel or FPS PSOs on site, call FPS at 1-877-437-7411, or email FPS at FPS-RMD@hq.dhs.gov.

What are the actual steps under FPS’ Prohibited Items Program in obtaining an accommodation for an item that is otherwise prohibited from possession in a Federal facility protected by FPS?

  1. You make an accommodation request to either FPS (who will then direct you to the Facility Security Committee) or to the Facility Security Committee for the Federal facility you wish to enter with a prohibited item.
  2. The Facility Security Committee either grants or denies your accommodation request.
  3. If the Facility Security Committee denies your request, you may then make an accommodation request to FPS to allow you to possess the prohibited item when going through FPS security screening posts. You may make a verbal or written request with FPS personnel or PSOs on site, call FPS at 1-877-437-7411, or email FPS at FPS-RMD@hq.dhs.gov.
Last Published Date: August 14, 2018

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