Wicker Introduces Bill to End Train Travel Restrictions on Gun Owners

August 7, 2009

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today announced he has introduced legislation to ensure law-abiding gun owners are able to securely transport firearms on Amtrak trains.  The Amtrak Secure Transportation of Firearms Act would require Amtrak to enact regulations similar to those the U.S. airline industry uses to regulate firearm transport on airplanes.  The requirements would apply for any year that Amtrak receives a federal subsidy.

“Gun owners should not be penalized for seeking alternative means of travel,” Sen. Wicker said.  “Under current Amtrak policy, a lawful citizen who wants to take the train for a hunting trip could not because they are prohibited from storing a gun in any checked luggage.  Our nation’s airlines allow gun owners to check guns in their luggage.  Our federally-subsidized rail line should be no different.”

The legislation states that if an Amtrak station accepts luggage for a specific route, passengers would be able to lawfully transport firearms and ammunition in secure baggage based on the following 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 for the container

Wicker’s legislation mirrors an amendment he introduced to the budget resolution earlier this year.  The amendment passed by a vote of 63-35 but was later removed during final House-Senate negotiations.

The Amtrak Secure Transportation of Firearms Act is cosponsored by Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., Sam Brownback, R-Kan., Jim Demint, R-S.C., John Ensign, R-Nev., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla.