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Better Believe It Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:50 PM
Original message
Senate passes bill to allow passenger guns on Amtrak: Failure to comply will end Amtrak funding!


Senate passes measure to allow gun transport on Amtrak
By Evan Glass
September 16, 2009

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Amtrak would lose its federal subsidies if it doesn't put a system in place by early next year to check and track firearms so that passengers can legally put the weapons in their checked baggage, the Senate voted Wednesday.

The measure, an amendment to the transportation and housing appropriations bill, passed 68-30.

Amtrak's current policy prohibits passengers from carrying "any type of gun, firearm, ammunition, explosives or weapon" in carry-on or checked baggage.

Amtrak Chairman Thomas Carper noted in a letter to Sens. Patty Murray and Christopher Bond decrying Wednesday's congressional mandate. They are the top Democrat and Republican, respectively, on the Appropriations Committee's transportation subcommittee.

"Unlike the airline industry, Amtrak has no system in place for a uniform system of screening for weapons," Carper wrote. The railroad has no secure loading areas, and trains make multiple stops, he said. Employees also would need intensive training.

Further, he said, the National Railroad Passenger Corp. (Amtrak) has neither the money nor the time to meet the Senate's timetable to put such a system in place.

Carper warned that if Amtrak were to lose federal funds, it would result in the "cessation of all Amtrak service nationwide."

The gun measure was sponsored by Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi

Murray opposed the legislation.

"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."

Please read the complete article at:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/09/16/amtrak.guns/inde...





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virginia mountainman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:51 PM
Response to Original message
1. Whats the problem??
Just like airliners....Checked bags...
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NYC_SKP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:52 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. +1 n/t
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Lifelong Protester Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:53 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Have you ever boarded an Amtrak train in rural America?
they barely have time to slow down for you to jump on... much less check bags.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 08:41 AM
Response to Reply #4
91. No checked bags = no checked firearms. Problem solved.
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ThoughtCriminal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:56 PM
Response to Reply #1
7. Read again
"Unlike the airline industry, Amtrak has no system in place for a uniform system of screening for weapons," Carper wrote. The railroad has no secure loading areas, and trains make multiple stops, he said. Employees also would need intensive training."

The airlines have a system in place because the taxpayers provided billions of dollars to pay for it. This amendment provides zero funds for Amtrak to implement it and threatens to eliminate all Amtrak funding if they don't.

So, OK, if Congress wants to force Amtrak to accommodate gun owners, let them also provide reasonable funding to make it practical and secure.

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aikoaiko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:09 PM
Response to Reply #7
13. billion dollar screening process for checked guns?
Edited on Wed Sep-16-09 11:09 PM by aikoaiko
This is the so called billion dollar screening process at an airport.

1. I walk up to ticket counter and say, "I have a gun to declare".

2. Attendant says, "thank you, sir, please show me that it is unloaded"

3. I take out case, unlock it, take out pistol being careful not to muzzle sweep, pop the slide, rack the slide, and turn it to show an empty chamber.

4. Attendant says, "thank you sir"

5. I hit the slide release, pop the empty mag back in, lock the gun in the case, and put it back in the luggage.

6. Unlocked luggage gets placed on conveyor belt and disappears.




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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:23 PM
Response to Reply #13
16. do you realize most rural/suburban stations don't have *any* personnel,
Edited on Wed Sep-16-09 11:24 PM by Hannah Bell
let alone ticketers or baggage checks?

the amtrak station in my town = zero personnel. in the next two stops on either side: 1, 0.

only the big-city hubs have such a thing as "baggage check". here, you carry on your own luggage & sit with it, or stash it in the shelves between compartments.

the legislation is idiotic.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:30 PM
Response to Reply #16
21. You do realized amTrak allowed checked firearms for almost 4 decades?
Their policy as exactly like the airlines. Had to be locked and unloaded. It was stored in baggage car. It only changed after the Madrid bombing which involved no firearms.

The policy could be a simple as you hand it to conductor when he checks your ticket.

As you indicate the current policy does nothing for security. Terrorism and murder are already against the law. Since AmTrak has minimal security terrorist could easily bring firearms on board with or without this change.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:36 PM
Response to Reply #21
25. do you realize there was no examination of or questioning re checked baggage for the last four
decades?

i don't *want* people pulling out guns to "show the conductor" in the passenger compartment.

it's bullshit designed to force amtrak to spend money for bullshit.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:43 PM
Response to Reply #25
28. why would they have to show the conductor anything.
Why not have the firearm checked when ticket is purchased?

If it is a larger stop then they will get check claim and secure firearm is loaded on the train.

If it is a smaller stop then some sort of tamperproof tag is attached to the opening. The person hands the pre-inspected & closed case to conductor he notes the tamperproof tag, hands them a claim check and secures the case.

It really isn't that hard.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:50 PM
Response to Reply #28
33. as i've said, there IS no baggage check, nor claim checks, nor station
personnel. you're asking the train personnel (minimal staff) to check guns in addition to their other duties?

fund it.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:00 AM
Response to Reply #33
41. READ THE DAMN BILL. If bags aren't checked the bill DOESN'T APPLY.
Generally it is a good idea to read a bill befoe freaking out about it.

If checked bags are not allowed on that route then firearms can' be checked. It is that simple.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:06 AM
Response to Reply #41
46. so people bring on their *unchecked* guns & keep them on the seat?
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 12:07 AM by Hannah Bell
that "hunting tourism" - is it confined to new york city or something?

wtf is the point of this bill but to make amtrak spend money they don't have (since the repugs defund them yearly) on stuff they don't need?
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:12 AM
Response to Reply #46
48. No. AMTRAK prohibits carried firearms.
Right now:
Carried firearms prohibited
Checked firearms prohibited

After bill:
Carried firearms prohibited
Checked firearms authorized

If a particular route doesn't have checked bags then you can't check a firearm.

Once again what "extra" money are they spending?
Why would it cost more to check a firearm then it would be to check a guitar?

If a route allows checked bags then firearms are declared and checked like any other bag.
If a route doesn't allow checked bags then there is no change.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:23 AM
Original message
so the plan is, passengers are allowed to have unloaded guns in their luggage, declare it without
station personnel having to examine the gun, & have the luggage checked until they arrive?

fine. i'm quite sure people do it already without saying. so far, no terrorists.

if you want the baggage checkers to open the luggage & look at the guns, or if any additional paperwork or security is required, FUND IT.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:25 AM
Response to Original message
54. That is exactly what they do with airlines right now.
I would NEVER want someone who is unfamiliar with my firearm to be poking and proding it.

There is nothing to fund because what you describe is exactly what will be required of Amtrack and exactly what the airlines do right now.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:43 AM
Response to Reply #54
58. no. your "i have a gun to declare" routine is what happens on airlines.
there isn't any such routine on amtrak & hasn't been so long as i've been riding.

going through the routine takes extra time & in aggregate requires man hours.

just to ask "anything to declare?" adds man-hours in aggregate.

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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:49 AM
Response to Reply #58
59. Well I guess they need to raise ticket prices $0.01 to cover it.
Sorry it is a negligible amount of time.

Likely less than 1% of people will declare a firearm.
So out of 100 tickets it will add an extra 10-30 seconds.

Say the guy checking bags makes $20 per hour. The additional labor cost for Amtrack is about $0.16 spread over 100 tickets is 0.16 cents per ticket. If they raise ticket prices $0.01 the cover their costs and add some profit.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:34 AM
Response to Reply #59
65. so the agents don't have to ask the question? the customer initiates the
declaration?

i don't think so. the agent will have to ask the question. too easy for customers to forget, otherwise, & legal issues.

amtrak has 19,000 employees serving 29 million riders/yr = 1 employee (including management) per 1526 riders.

(There have to be some low-paid contract employees in this picture, because that figure is unbelievable, but that's the figure given: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amtrak )

one cent (.01) x 29 million tickets = $290,000.

1 $20/hr employee, 40 hrs, 50 weeks = $40,000 & 2080 hrs = 1 FTE

10 extra seconds for 29 million transactions = 290,000,000 seconds
= 4,833,333 minutes
= 80,555 hours
= 38.7 FTEs of 2080 hrs each
= $1,548,000

So I calculate 40 new hires to cover the minimal scenario you outline, & 5 times the cost. If we assume half the passengers ride on no-check routes, it's still 2.5 times the cost you outline, 20 new hires.

Let me know if the math is wrong.

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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 07:12 AM
Response to Reply #65
76. Where in the bill does it say AmTrak needs to ask any customer anything?
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 07:41 AM by Statistical
When I go on an airline they don't ask me if I have a firearm. The one time I had a firearm out of about 200+ flights for business I told them. It took all over 30 seconds.

Your assumption of security, asking questions of each passenger, additional manpower, screening are all that assumptions, incorrect assumptions.

In 6 months AmTrack will be checking firearms and if you check a bag without declaring a firearm they won't ask you a single thing that they didn't prior to this bill.
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ThoughtCriminal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:28 PM
Response to Reply #13
19. You are overlooking quite a bit
>>"gets placed on conveyor belt and disappears..."

Wow. Magic.

You are only considering the portion of the process that you see. There is a huge difference between the secure baggage areas of a typical airport and the very public and accessible train platforms. There are a large number of security personnel at airports to monitor the baggage. Bomb detection systems and processes have to make sure that transported ammunition does not set off false positives (Amtrak is VERY worried about bombs since Madrid and London and threats are pretty common).
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:39 PM
Response to Reply #19
26. yes, compare an airport to our brick, circa 1920 amtrak station with ZERO personnel.
the city unlocks it in the morning & locks it when the last run goes though. hoping no kids have vandalized it in the meantime.

the ticket agent disappeared sometime during the reagan administration. the baggage handlers in the 70s.
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aikoaiko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:01 AM
Response to Reply #19
42. Yes, but the mechanisms for security are the same whether guns are checked or not.

I don't see this as overburdening the AMTRAK system at all.

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ThoughtCriminal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:12 AM
Response to Reply #42
49. Not quite
As I explained elsewhere, Amtrak can check for explosives (K-9 sniffers), but does not have the equipment to differentiate between firearms ammunition and other explosives. That would require a substantial additional investment and additional trained screeners. If Amtrak implements this policy and does not get funding for additional screening equipment, it becomes more vulnerable to a Madrid type attack.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:19 AM
Response to Reply #49
51. Why. It might lead to more false positives but certainly not false negatives.
So the dog may bark more and more bags get manualy searched. Amtrack complains and gets better equipment.

How exactly would this lead to "Madrid type bombing"?
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ThoughtCriminal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:40 AM
Response to Reply #51
57. Think about it
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 12:44 AM by ThoughtCriminal
Yeah, the dog is indicating there might be a bomb in there, cut it open! Does this REALLY sounds like a wise bomb disposal procedure to you? Would having it explode when you cut the lock constitute a "False Negative"?

This is why airports have trained professionals and additional equipment.

Before, you were saying all they have to do is accept the bag and toss it on the train. Now we have to deal with a bag that has tested positive from the dog. This may happen every time a baggage car that has firearms/ammunition stored on it is checked. And now has to be CAREFULLY checked using means and personnel that the railroad does not have.

Either Amtrak has to cut open and check every bag that has ammunition to make sure it is safe (not so simple or sane) or take the risk that a bag that has been checked in as firearms ammunition is in fact a bomb.

"Amtrak complains and gets better equipment." You don't follow the Amtrak appropriations much do you? Why not provide this with the mandate? Answer: Senator Wicker probably doesn't give a damn about whether Amtrak is still operating.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:52 AM
Response to Reply #57
60. Sorry I just don't see it as the giant problem you make it out to be.
What does AmTrak do now if they get a false positive? Lots of thinks cause false positive on dogs. Gunpowder is very powerful scent. Someone who went to the range (cop coming off duty) prior to touching his bag is enough to transfer the scent.

If it is such a major problem then AmTrak is ALREADY putting customer lives at risk by not having proper bomb detection equipment.


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ThoughtCriminal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:06 AM
Response to Reply #60
63. Since firearms and ammunition are not allowed
they do not get that many false positives.

If we have a lot of people transporting firearms and ammunition, they are likely to have false positives on almost every train that is checked. This will undermine one of the few good resources that Amtrak has to protect its passengers. The dogs are VERY good, but one of the things that makes them effective is that they do not have deal with false indications from checked ammunition.

What is the big hurry on mandating that Amtrak comply with this rule?
Why threaten Amtrak with funding DEATH if it does not able to safely implement the requirements by next March?
Why not provide the funding, the resources and provide enough time to do it right?
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:12 AM
Response to Reply #63
64. Sorry it is a constitutional right.
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 01:16 AM by Statistical
As a private entity AmTrak can prohibit firearms on private property but once they accept public funds it changes the rules.

The bill passed with substantial support from both parties. They are given 6 months of time. Their operating budget is $1.87 B and the cost of checking firearms is negligible. AmTrack already receives $1.3B in subsidies to augment it's revenue giving it over $3B working capital annually.

This is a cost of doing business just like buying diesel fuel, or avoid credit card fraud.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:38 AM
Response to Reply #64
66. FUND IT, then. $1.3 billion = in constant dollars, their approximate 1975
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 07:24 AM
Response to Reply #66
81. Obviously the Senate considers it already funded.
They aren't buying into your billion dollar pricetag for someone to have a conversation and the law protect passengers who legally transport a firearm in a checked bag.

People do it right now but they are breaking the law. All this does is prohibit AmTrak from making an unreasonable demand of considering such lawful transport to be illegal.
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ThoughtCriminal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:52 AM
Response to Reply #64
68. Retreating to this?
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 02:01 AM by ThoughtCriminal
There are many public places that restrict firearms for safety and security reasons. It has nothing to do with your right to own a firearm. If you REALLY believe that these restrictions are unconstitutional, why stop at Amtrak's checked baggage? Would you argue that it is illegal for Amtrak to bar you from carrying a loaded gun with you on the train? How about a Courtroom, or into the White House? These are all public places. And why stop at guns - could you argue that a bomb is an "arm" and your right to carry a bomb is restricted?

The total Amtrak funding barely covers its operational costs, and there is little, and in many years no extra funds for new and replacement equipment. TSA has spent billions on airport baggage security, it took years and requires an large staff of trained personnel. How is Amtrak supposed to do this with NO funding and 6 months? The head of Amtrak says they do not have the ability to implement this safely and this could result in a complete system shutdown.



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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 07:29 AM
Response to Reply #68
83. Always the escalation.
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 07:55 AM by Statistical
Security is used to catch - ILLEGAL WEAPONS.
Regardless of if this bill passes AmTrak should increase security but that is a totally separate issue.
The cost to delcare a firearm in checked bags in neglible. If it were me I would say no need to even declare it.
You simply can. Of course I understand politically why we don't do that.
It would be spun as "Police powerless to stop hidden weapons on trains & planes".
The declaration is nothing but legal cover just like it is on airlines.

Who said anything about whitehouse or courthouse?
Heller v. DC indicated that firearms can be prohibited insensitive places. Firearms are prohibited in cabin on planes but it is hard to classify an unloaded & locked firearm in checked baggage is a "sensitive place".

Although TSA costs billions and it took years Airlines allowed firearms in checked bags prior, and after 9/11. Allowing lawful firearms in checked bags has nothing to do with security.
Should AmTrak have more money for security? Yes. I would support any such bill that came up. However that is a completely separate issue from allowing legal transport of unloaded & locked firearms.

Like it or not firearms are a fundamental right, and as such strict Scrutiny does apply. The policies can't be a restrictive as say a policy on food brought on board, or over sized luggage.
Are you telling me AmTrak current policy passes strict scrutiny? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strict_scrutiny
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aikoaiko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 08:57 AM
Response to Reply #49
101. quite.

If a dog hits a bag it gets inspected. If the bag has a locked gun container with the little TSA like sticker and no bombs then its good to go, the same way if a dog hits a bag and there is no locked gun container.

Amtrak is no more vulnerable because people are permitted to check unloaded locked up guns. it might take a little more time, but that's about it.

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ThoughtCriminal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 09:18 AM
Response to Reply #101
104. Many problems with that
It pretty much requires that every declared firearm container has to be treated as a potential bomb and manually inspected. As I documented elsewhere, the dogs cannot differentiate. Not to mention the delays introduced by what would likely become a common occurrence. Airlines can handle it because they were provided generous funding through TSA to get the equipment and manpower.

The point is that Amtrak does not have the personnel, training or equipment to deal with this. The amendment does not provide this funding, but it does eliminate ALL Amtrak funds if they are not able to comply.
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aikoaiko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 09:27 AM
Response to Reply #104
106. I have confidence that the AMTRAK personnel can handle this.


The burden will likely be small in terms of additional work.

I'm all for increasing funding for AMTRAK, but I'm also for the common sense application of FOPA's transportation laws of unloaded locked firearms to AMTRAK since they work just fine for commercial airlines (with much security) and personal cars (with no security).
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ThoughtCriminal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 09:34 AM
Response to Reply #106
109. According to Amtrak's Director - they do not
have the resources or training. I'm more likely to take his word for it. I have documented the substantial problems elsewhere.
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benEzra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:09 AM
Response to Reply #49
113. I am under the impression that most explosives dogs aren't trained to alert on small arms ammunition
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 11:10 AM by benEzra
but I may be wrong. Small arms ammo contains propellants (deflagrants, primarily nitrocellulose based), not explosives; an explosive loaded to modern-firearm pressures would blow up the gun. Also, ammunition is generally hermetically sealed to prevent moisture/humidity damage to the propellant. If EOD dogs were trained to alert on cased ammunition, they'd have a hard time working in this country, I'd think.

I do know that airline explosives screening gear doesn't alert on small arms ammo, because I once declared a firearm on a flight and had the suitcase it was in scanned for explosives residue, with a negative result.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:18 AM
Response to Reply #42
50. what "mechanisms for security"? there are NO personnel. NO money, not even for
a ticket agent.

you want the already short-staffed train personnel not only to sell tickets, but to check guns.

FUND IT.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=amtrak+budget+cuts
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:23 AM
Response to Reply #50
53. Your missing the point.
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 12:38 AM by Statistical
You state Amtrak's station is unsecured.

So if Amtrak doesn't allow checked guns someone could bring a firearm on the train and commit an attack.
If Amtrack does allow checked guns someone could bring a firearm (not checked) on the train and commit an attack.

So either way nothing changed.

There is no need for funding because the firearms are checked like any other baggage.

Me: I am declaring a checked, locked, unloaded firearm in this hard case.
Bag Check: Is it unloaded?
Me: Yes
Bag Check: Is it locked?
Me: Yes
Bag Check (glancing at the bag): I see it is a hard case.

He takes the bag and places it with other checked bags. Hands me ticket, and claim check and I board the plane.

Other than a little dialog the process is exactly the same as checking ANY OTHER LUGGAGE.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:26 AM
Response to Reply #53
55. your routine takes extra time. you don't "declare" items on amtrak.
it's not like airlines. you're not a rider, apparently.

you want it, fund it.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:37 AM
Response to Reply #55
56. It takes all of 10 seconds.
It is ONLY used where checked bags are accepted.
Checking bags takes a time anyways.

Sorry there is no need to fund an extra 10 seconds in a person declaring they have a locked, unloaded, firearm in a hard case.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:56 AM
Response to Reply #56
61. i thought you were the statistical guy. 10 additional seconds for each of
29 million riders? how many FTEs is that?

you do the math, since you're so statistical.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:04 AM
Response to Reply #61
62. 10 seconds for each passenger with firearm not all passengers.
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 01:21 AM by Statistical
Lets be generous and say 1% check a firearm (I think it is more like 1/1000th or 1/5000th).

That is 290,000 checked firearms. Let even say 30 seconds each.

145,000 minutes.
2400 hours

At $20 per hour that's about $50,000 in additional labor. Now this actually way over estimates the amount but for the sake of argument we will go with it.

Amtrak operating cost for latest year I could find were $1.87 billion. The cost would be 0.002% of their operating budget.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:42 AM
Response to Reply #62
67. you still have to ask the question. let's time it: ok, by my watch,
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 01:45 AM by Hannah Bell
this routine:

"hi sir, do you have anything to declare?
"no, i don't."

takes 5-8 seconds, depending on how fast & robotically you say it. you can automatically double that for little old ladies, families with crying children, etc.

the question has to be asked of every passenger, not just those with guns, & the gun-carrier will not be given discretion to initiate the exchange, just as they're not on planes.

here are *my* calculations, somewhat different from your statistical ones.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 07:10 AM
Response to Reply #67
75. Once again did you read the bill?
Nothing says AmTrack has to ask any passenger anything.

A Passenger CAN DELCARE a firearm and AmTrak can't refuse it.

This is a non-issue. In 6 months AmTrak will be accepting a very very very small number of checked firearms just like airlines do at neglible cost and resources.
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aikoaiko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 09:00 AM
Response to Reply #50
102. I think you're point that AMTRAKs security is underfunded is a good one.

AMTRAK's security needs go way beyond checked guns. Checked guns aren't the problem.
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Lifelong Protester Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 10:05 PM
Response to Reply #50
116. No one seems to get this but you and I
There are NO personnel at the station I usually get on at. It isn't that it is an inconvenience for Amtrak personnel~ the point is there are NO personnel in very many of the points that you get on the train.
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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:29 PM
Response to Reply #13
20. How nice that you identify the bag your gun is in.
And you get the gun back?
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aikoaiko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:52 PM
Response to Reply #20
35. always.

:eyes:
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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 03:28 AM
Response to Reply #35
73. So you never go thru New York?
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 08:39 AM
Response to Reply #73
89. Despite what NY think it is part of the United States and FOPA does apply fully to New York
They have been sued multiple times for violations of federal law.

NYC also loved when bags with firearms had to be marked. They would take all the firearm bags, call in the owners advise them they were breaking the law but they could put a fine (couple hundred bucks) or they could be arrested. It was a lovely money making scheme.

Those days are long gone now. Luggage with firearms are not marked in anyway to indicate the contents, the FOPA protects lawful transport through areas with restrictive gun laws, and the numerous lawsuits has taught NYC they will lose this one over and over and over.

Last lawsuit I remember hearing about was in 2006.
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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 09:47 PM
Response to Reply #89
115. Oh. I thought the handlers would just pocket the guns.
Nice to know there's one valuable you can safely put in your luggage.
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aikoaiko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 08:51 AM
Response to Reply #73
99. Sure, Rochester.

What's your point?
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:03 AM
Response to Reply #13
44. "conveyor belt." lol. this is a "big" station.
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Renew Deal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 08:48 AM
Response to Reply #13
97. Have fun trying that in Penn Station
The NYPD will not be amused.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 08:50 AM
Response to Reply #97
98. NYPD would be sued then.
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 08:59 AM by Statistical
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FOPA

New York Port Authority was sued and lost for illegal arrest and seizure in 2006.
The duty of the Police is to enforce the law and the law allows lawful transport of firearms even in states with restrictive gun laws.
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aikoaiko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 09:01 AM
Response to Reply #97
103. Its happens all the time in JFK and Laguardia.

Do you really think the NYPD are incapable of doing their job?
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pipoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:17 PM
Response to Reply #7
15. Well then they should have
"Unlike the airline industry, Amtrak has no system in place for a uniform system of screening for weapons,"

If this is true then any criminal bent on mass murder could board unchecked. This isn't about concealed carry on trains..maybe it should be. The primary tourism in my state (and several others) is hunting tourism. Guns are integral to hunting. Not allowing checked guns in public transportation effects tourism in many states. There are also millions of sport shooters who compete every weekend, they travel too. Not to mention that currently 43 states have 'shall issue' concealed carry laws on the books many of which reciprocate.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:24 PM
Response to Reply #7
17. AmTrack allowed checked firearm for decades... just like airlines have.
After 9/11 they stoped that policy as a feel good do nothing measure.

As mentioned they have minimal security so any terrorist could bring illegal weapons right into the passenger compartment.

How does prohibition on law abiding citizens keeping locked and unloaded firearms in cargo compartment make the train less safe?
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:31 PM
Response to Reply #17
22. i've ridden the trains regularly since i was a small child, before it was amtrak.
there has never been, on the portland to seattle run, any examination or questioning of checked baggage. you just checked it.

it forces amtrak to spend money on bullshit.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:48 PM
Response to Reply #22
31. Why would they examine it?
Edited on Wed Sep-16-09 11:49 PM by Statistical
I checked a firearm on an airline. They never examined it. I let her know it was a firearm. She asked if it was unloaded. I said yes. She asked if I had a lock. I said yes. She asked if there was any ammo in the case with firearm? I said no. She asked if I had any ammo to declare in any other luggage. I said no. She glanced (maybe 2 whole seconds) at the case to make sure it was a hard case. She put a tag on it and took the bag.

Did you think people go cycle the action of firearms in major airports when they check them?

If a firearm owner checks a loaded firearm then they committed a felony. If they get caught they never can own a firearm again.

Other than employee training there should be no cost to AmTrack.
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ThoughtCriminal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:32 PM
Response to Reply #17
23. The reason they changed it.
Madrid. It takes a combination of very complicated equipment and K-9s to detect the difference between stored ammunition and a bomb.

Amtrak does use dogs to check trains for explosives. In fact, they were used on the last Amtrak trip that took.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:50 PM
Response to Reply #23
32. Which is why you are required to declare ammunition.
Just like on a plane.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:52 PM
Response to Reply #32
36. fund it. fund it. pay for two "gun-checkers" on every train. plus a "secured compartment".
+ the additional insurance & security.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:59 PM
Response to Reply #36
40. Why there are no gun checkers on airlines?
Text of the bill...

"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"

The requirement is limited ONLY to routes that Amtrack checks bags.

The firearms are placed with all other checked bags exactly like they are for airlines.
If that route doesn't check bags..... you can't bring firearm.

Common sense legislation.
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