Wicker Continues Effort to End Train Travel Restrictions on Gun Owners

September 15, 2009

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today introduced an amendment to the transportation and housing appropriations bill to end train travel restrictions on gun owners.  Under the amendment, Amtrak would have until March 31, 2010 to enact regulations similar to those the U.S. airline industry uses to regulate firearm transport on airplanes or forgo federal subsidy funding. 

“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,” Wicker said.  “It is hard for me to imagine Congress considering providing $1.5 billion in this bill to Amtrak while the rail line intentionally limits its revenue and chooses not to accept business from this specific and law-abiding segment of travelers.” 

Wicker’s amendment mirrors current Transportation Security Administration requirements to check a firearms for air travel.  The amendment 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 noted that prior to 2001, Amtrak accepted firearms in secure checked baggage without incident. 

The amendment is similar to a stand-alone bill Wicker introduced in August.  The senator also successfully offered the measure 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.