September 16th, 2009
01:25 PM ET
13 years ago

Senate votes to allow guns on Amtrak

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Senate voted Wednesday to prohibit federal funding for Amtrak unless it allows licensed gun owners to transport their weapons on the passenger trains by next year.

The measure, an amendment to the Transportation and Housing Appropriations bill, passed 68-30.

The House passed its version of that appropriations bill in July. It did not include a provision to allow guns on Amtrak.

The Senate legislation says Amtrak would lose federal subsidies if it prohibits passengers from bringing their guns on board under security
restrictions similar to those imposed on airlines.

Amtrak spokesman Steve Kulm said the railroad was working on a response to the legislation.

The measure was sponsored by Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi. He introduced the same legislation in August as part of the budget resolution, and it was approved with bipartisan support, but the provision was removed during final House-Senate negotiations.

"Under current practices, all of the American domestic airlines permit firearms in their checked luggage. Other American passenger railroads also allow checked firearms," Wicker said on the Senate floor Wednesday.

"Only the federally subsidized Amtrak prohibits law-abiding American citizens from exercising their Second Amendment rights in checked baggage," he said.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, was opposed to the measure.

"In order to receive any federal funding under this amendment, Amtrak would have six months to build a process for checking and tracking firearms," she said.

"It would have to find the manpower necessary to screen and guard firearms, and it would have to purchase the equipment necessary. Now there is nothing in the underlying appropriations to pay for any of that. So this amendment is going to put a severe burden on them and if they do not comply, Amtrak will shut down."

The amendment lays out the following security guidelines:

- Before checking the bag or boarding the train, the passenger must declare that the firearm or pistol is in his or her bag and is unloaded.
- The firearm or pistol must be carried in a hard-sided container.
- The hard-sided container must be locked, and only the passenger has the combination or key.

Filed under: Senate
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Vincent

    Hmmmm.... If I remember correctly, Pres. Obama was going to take "everyone's" guns away when he became President. Isn't that why the scared and paranoid ran to the Gun stores in mass?

    Aren't people silly?

    September 16, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  2. Hugo

    Perhaps we have become so politically correct over the last several years that we have forgotten who we really are and what our ancestors went through to get us here. You just can't butter both sides of the bread and lay it down on the counter without making a mess. If racism is such a tool of these liberal idiot PUNDITS that have worked hard at stealing our freedoms then take away the power of the word. It is simply a word, if there is no behavior to support it, it means nothing.... Say it America, we are racists and we are proud to be a racists, there now, that wasn't so painful, was it?


    September 16, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  3. walleye

    I assume that Amtrak travelers will now need to go through x-ray scanners. Otherwise we will have more gun toting nuts riding around.

    September 16, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  4. Sian Rose

    I have been a faithful Amtrak passenger for almost 20 of my 32 years. I can assure Amtrak and the US Senate that I will not, under any circumstances take a 36 hour train ride (as I have done may times) on a train that provides alcohol service, while allowing people to tote guns about. I fail to understand how anyone could even consider such a proposal. I'm all for 2nd ammendement rights but this seems a bit much.

    September 16, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  5. Robin in Tampa, FL

    I saw the debate on the Senate floor ... apparently the had allowed people to check-in their guns on Amtrak prior to 2004, so I don't see what the big issue is to return back to the old policy.

    September 16, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  6. Doc in Virginia

    Makes sense. If you can transport a gun on a plane, and I have, then why not on a train?
    When it is planned, secure and lawful then it's not a problem.
    It's the wingnuts that want to go everywhere in the country strapped that is out of control. As if anyone would want to get in an argument in a public place with some idiot who cant hold their booze or anger that shoots up the house.

    September 16, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  7. Joe

    I am a New Yorker. I heard the Long Island Rail Road incident in which a purely insane individual railed against the society and unloaded his concealed weapon and killed several innocent people. Yes, there is second ammendment to worry about But there is also safety issues. Why can't we allow the gun owners to surrender their respective weapon/s (Loaded or Not) to the Amtrack Crew members while in transit and claimed the gun upon getting off.
    Cracy Terrorist could use this ploy to inflict damages upon this innocent and loving free country. Let this ammendment fail in the conference or House-Senate negotiation.

    September 16, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  8. Laurie

    If we don't allow guns on planes, why on earth are we allowing guns on AMTRAK? This is ridiculous. I use AMTRAK. Let's make public transportation even MORE DANGEROUS. Let's allow bombs and explosives on AMTRAK, too. This is sickening.

    September 16, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  9. Kate in San Diego

    Sounds okay to me as long as the guns are locked inthe luggage and not being waved around the train or plane. After watching the antics of people at the town halls, I would be afraid to ride a train or plane with people openly packing heat. Everyone is too volatile these days for that sort of thing to be safe.

    September 16, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  10. lovable liberal

    Which is it? Guns in checked baggage like airlines or in carry-on baggage?

    I also notice that the same people who want to check your citizenship in the ER (papers please!) are happy to take a gun-owner's word for anything.

    September 16, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  11. Minnesotan

    I personally think we should allow guns in churches also. And daycares and medical clinics. Who knows when you may need a gun?

    Its a sad state of affairs when people get ARRESTED at Bush rallies for wearing anti-Bush t-shirts but the crazy loon who comes strapped to a rally just outside from where our Democrat President is speaking is left untouched.

    But we can all brag about leading the world in hand gun deaths! Accidental handgun deaths to boot!! There is a 4000% increase in a family member being shot once a gun has been introduced into their household.

    September 16, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  12. jfs Memhis, Tn

    Well NRE ......still dislike the Demos???

    September 16, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  13. GI Joe

    Allowing guns everywhere except the Government Chambers of Congress and Senate.

    I think that's where guns should be mandatory.

    September 16, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  14. T.J.

    This means you cannot "technically" carry on a gun, it "must be" checked correct?

    September 16, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  15. JDH

    I am not sure what MR. Glass is attempting to say when he uses the phrase "firearm or pistol"? Is not a pistol a firearm?

    September 16, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
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