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Senate Votes To Let Travelers Carry Guns On Amtrak (in their checked baggage)

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Kadie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 04:05 PM
Original message
Senate Votes To Let Travelers Carry Guns On Amtrak (in their checked baggage)
Sep 16, 2009 1:56 pm US/Pacific
Senate Votes To Let Travelers Carry Guns On Amtrak
Measure Approved By A 68-30 Vote, Seeks To Give Amtrak Riders Same Rights As Airline Passengers

WASHINGTON (AP) ― The Senate voted Wednesday to permit passengers on the Amtrak passenger railroad to transport handguns in their checked baggage.

The proposal, approved by a 68-30 vote, seeks to give Amtrak riders rights comparable to those enjoyed by airline passengers, who are permitted to transport firearms provided that they declare they are doing so and that the arms are unloaded and in a securely locked container.

"Americans should not have their Second Amendment rights restricted for any reason, particularly if they choose to travel on America's federally subsidized rail line," said Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., who made the proposal.

Wicker's amendment would deny the railroad its $1.6 billion taxpayer subsidy unless it changes the gun policy.

Current Amtrak policy, put in place after the bombings of passenger trains in Madrid five years ago, prohibits weapons, including firearms, from being carried on its trains.

more...
http://cbs13.com/national/senate.guns.amtrak.2.1188328....


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old mark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 04:07 PM
Response to Original message
1.  About time this was clarified.
Good decision - hope some Dems voted for it.

mark
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 04:07 PM
Response to Original message
2. That's the kind of shit Dems will have to tack onto health care reform to get a bipartisan vote.
:eyes:

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cherokeeprogressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 04:09 PM
Response to Original message
3. No problem with this.
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Stinky The Clown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 04:20 PM
Response to Original message
4. I'm sure I'll get flamed, but I think this shit sucks. Stoopit.
I'll continue to ride, but my asshole will always be a bit tighter knowing that some John Wayne wannabe nutcase might be seated in the same car and take offense to someone's comment or glance.

Yeah ... I know ... gun rights.

Fucking stoopid.
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mamaleah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 04:24 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Speaking of stupid....did you missed the "checked baggage" part?
That doesn't mean holstered under his coat. It means in checked baggage. Baggage not accessible during your trip on the fine train.
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Stinky The Clown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 04:27 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Yes, I did.
Edited on Wed Sep-16-09 04:29 PM by Stinky The Clown
And having missed it doesn't make anyone stupid. It makes them a sloppy or inattentive reader.

I'll try to resist my urge to say "fuck you" to you.
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mamaleah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 04:33 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Feel free to!
I was being snarky so I wouldn't mind. :P
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noiretextatique Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 06:17 PM
Response to Reply #4
15. it's not just stoopid...it's idiotic
great to see our senate at work on the non-issue of carrying guns everywhere considering all the other real problems we have in this country.
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berni_mccoy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 04:29 PM
Response to Original message
7. This will effectively shut down Amtrak. That is what the Amendment is designed to do.
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."
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Winterblues Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 04:42 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. Bolony. It won't shut down Amtrak any more than airlines have been shut down for allowing the same
Edited on Wed Sep-16-09 04:42 PM by Winterblues
Checked and Locked baggage. No one has access until the trip is over. airlines do the exact same thing. To me this is a no brainer..
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berni_mccoy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 04:49 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Airlines already had gun-scanning in place. Adding that infrastructure to Amtrak will cost money
and it's not money that is covered in this bill. Checked-bags in airplanes are in a secure compartment. Not so on a train.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 06:42 PM
Response to Reply #10
21. "Gun scanning" This requires them to allowed DECLARED AND CHECKED firearms.
Right now illegal firearms CAN BE CARRIED because there are no "gun scanning" that is a separate issue.

To comply with this bill they simply need a procedure where Berni can bring a unlocked and and unloaded firearm to the ticket counter. Declare it, lock the case and have it checked.

Amtrack allowed this for decades prior to the Madrid bombing. They stopped it as a feel good, do nothing policy. As you pointed out illegal weapons can be brought on board right now because they aren't screening. The policy change doesn't prevent that but it does prevent those who comply with the law from using Amtrack.
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ThoughtCriminal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 09:32 PM
Response to Reply #9
23. Airlines received $ BILLIONS in subsidies to make it possible
to handle baggage securely at airports.

This amendment provides no funds for Amtrak to duplicate that kind of security and eliminates ALL Amtrak funding if they do not.

I short, it threatens to eliminate Amtrak if it cannot do with zero funds, what the airline industry did with billions of dollars of taxpayer money.

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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:18 PM
Response to Reply #23
27. Did you read the bill? I linked to it below.
The arlines received billions to upgrade physical security including manated screenings.
The airlines allowed checked firearms for decades long before 9/11. Along a person to DECLARE and CHECK a securely stored firearm is of minimal cost and complexity.

Amtrack did this prior to 9/11 for decades without any financial hardship. The policy change was a feel good policy. They prevented law abiding citizens from declaring and checking a firearm without increasing security to prevent illegal carrying of firearms.
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ThoughtCriminal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:55 PM
Response to Reply #27
29. At that time, they were not really worried about bombs
Yes, I know what we are talking about guns rather than bombs, but it takes quite a bit more investment if you want to detect bombs, but are allowing ammunition.

At airports, checked bagsincluding those containing firearmswill then be screened for explosives by various means. Depending on the airport, methods may include high-tech "sniffers" that analyze chemical vapors, X-ray machines, trained bomb detection dogs or a combination of these systems. Not all of these methods can differentiate explosives from the gunpowder residues on a fired gun or in loaded ammunition.

And yes, Amtrak does use dogs to check for explosives. I am not confident that they would be able to detect the difference without a considerable upgrade of additional equipment.

Anyway, we have your opinion, and we have the opinion of the man who runs the railroad.

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Kadie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 05:01 PM
Response to Reply #7
11. That is what I was wondering.
Last time I took the train, been several years now, they were not scanning baggage. I am surprised they haven't started doing it yet, but I would imagine it is all about cost. I know Amtrak is having a tough time as it is.

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Fastcars Donating Member (121 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 05:34 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Seems to me.....
Only law abiding people that wish to legitimately carry a firearm are affected by this. Those that wish to carry one for other reasons are probably already doing so.
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berni_mccoy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 06:08 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. And now, non-law abiding people can access law-abiding people's guns on the train.
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Jackson1999 Donating Member (320 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 09:41 AM
Response to Reply #11
30. Why would they scan baggage?
There is not need just because guns are aloud as CHECKED baggage.
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Kadie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:21 AM
Response to Reply #30
32. Why shouldn't they scan baggage?
And no, not Just because of the gun issues. Just a general safety issue.

:shrug:




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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 06:30 PM
Response to Reply #7
18. Amtrack allowed checked firearms for decades
Prior to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Amtrak permitted firearms to be carried on its trains so long as they were separately secured in locked baggage or carrying cases. But it added restrictions on carrying weapons after 9/11 and imposed a total ban on all weapons after the Madrid bombings.

Strange this "severe burden" didn't hurt them prior to the Madrid bombing. In response to the Madrid bombing they made a feel good, do nothing policy to prevent lawful transport of unloaded and locked firearms.

This bill simply makes them undo that change.
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aikoaiko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 06:14 PM
Response to Original message
14. This is a reasonable amendment -- its basicly the same policy for checking in guns while flying
But that won't stop the fear mongerers from their chicken little routines.

OMG ONOZ, unloaded guns in locked cases in luggage, OMG ONOZ

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 06:18 PM
Response to Original message
16. Who checks bags on a train?
n/t
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gratuitous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 06:22 PM
Response to Original message
17. An unfunded mandate for Amtrak
Hmmmm. Almost as if, under the guise of some nitwit Second Amendment argument, some folks are trying to deprive Amtrak of its federal funding by forcing it to incur an additional cost without a concomitant funding source. Well, nobody will object to paying an extra $25 per leg of a train trip to put a system in place and employ enough people to check, track, and report firearms, right?

I wonder if there is a companion bill in the House, or if the Senate is just jerking off the gun aficionados? Not like there's anything important to attend to, so it's no biggie.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 06:31 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. Amtrack allowed checked firearms for decades.
Prior to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Amtrak permitted firearms to be carried on its trains so long as they were separately secured in locked baggage or carrying cases. But it added restrictions on carrying weapons after 9/11 and imposed a total ban on all weapons after the Madrid bombings.
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ThoughtCriminal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 09:33 PM
Response to Reply #19
24. You don't think the security demands
changed a little bit after 9-11 and Madrid?
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:13 PM
Response to Reply #24
26. No.
1) Terrorist is unlikely to check a firearm where it will be stored securely and they can't use it.

2) Terrorist may use firearms illegally on Amtrack but they would be illegally used. Terrorism is already illegal, as is mass murder. Anyone willing to commit both will not be stopped by a "no guns sign".

3) Neither attack involved firearms and still resulted in substantial loss of life.

The bill will simply require that Amtrack check and store firearms which are locked and unloaded. This same policy has been used by airlines for decades without issue and the same Policy was used by Amtrack prior to 9/11 without issue.
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ThoughtCriminal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:40 PM
Response to Reply #26
28. The problem is that it is very difficult
without expensive investments to tell the difference between a locked container of ammunition and a locked container with a bomb (especially one that uses firearms ammunition). On my last Amtrak trip there was a bomb threat and they brought in dogs to check the train. Would a dog detect the difference?

The taxpayers paid a heavy price to make this practical for airlines. Congress is not providing funds for Amtrak to match what airports have.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 06:33 PM
Response to Original message
20. Even the Brady Campaign has no problem with it.
The few Democrats (30ish) who voted against it have no leg to stand on.

Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said he "doesn't have problems with people transporting guns on trains so long as steps are taken to make sure they're secured and properly stowed."
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 06:46 PM
Response to Original message
22. Text of the bill
http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-s1638/text

Section 24305 of title 49, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

(g) Secure Transportation of Firearms- If an Amtrak station accepts checked baggage for a specific Amtrak route, an Amtrak passenger holding a ticket for such route shall be allowed to place an unloaded firearm or starter pistol in a checked bag on such route if--

(1) before checking the bag or boarding the train, the passenger declares to Amtrak, either orally or in writing, that the firearm is in his or her bag and is unloaded;

(2) the firearm is carried in a hard-sided container;

(3) such container is locked; and

(4) only the passenger has the key or combination for such container.

(h) Small Arms Ammunition- An Amtrak passenger shall be allowed to place small arms ammunition for personal use in a checked bag on an Amtrak route if the ammunition is securely packed--

(1) in fiber, wood, or metal boxes; or

(2) in other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition.

(i) Applicability- Subsections (g) and (h) shall not apply in any fiscal year in which Amtrak does not receive Federal financial assistance..
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Cha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 09:43 PM
Response to Original message
25. Hell yes give them their guns locked in their
suitcases and we get our Federally run Amtrak..it better run on schedule, wicker.
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benEzra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:11 AM
Response to Original message
31. Good. If Amtrak wants to be a serious competitor to the airlines
Good. If Amtrak wants to be a serious competitor to the airlines (and they should), they need to ACT with at least the professionalism of an airline.

When you fly on an airline, you can check firearms through to your destination; there is no reason that you can't do the same if you choose to take the train instead. This just applies the airline rules to trains, too, and repeals the ridiculous Bush the Younger transport ban.
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