Wicker Amendment Passes Senate

— Measure seeks to end gun ban on Amtrak
by John Velleco

April 3, 2009

An amendment that seeks to reverse a gun prohibition on Amtrak trains passed the U.S. Senate late Thursday evening as part of the enormous budget bill.

Amtrak regulations prohibit firearms on both checked and carry on baggage.   Sportsmen who wish to use an Amtrak carrier for a hunting trip cannot include a shotgun even in their checked luggage.

Likewise, travelers who have a permit to carry a concealed firearm cannot include a self-defense handgun in their checked luggage, even if they are allowed to carry in both the state of origin and destination.

But if such travelers were to take the trip by air, they could at least check a gun onto the aircraft by simply declaring the firearm.

No such policy exists for Amtrak passengers.  

“Gun owners should not be penalized for seeking alternative means of travel,” Sen. Wicker said. 

The Wicker amendment prohibits any funds from the newly established infrastructure reserve fund from being appropriated to Amtrak until it revises its check-in policy to allow law-abiding Americans to include firearms in their checked luggage.

Americans should not be denied their Second Amendment rights when they travel by train.  Furthermore, a transportation entity that receives billions of federal taxpayer dollars should not be allowed to prevent Americans from hunting or defending themselves when they travel on vacation or personal business.

It’s bad enough that law-abiding citizens are disarmed on-board a train, where they are vulnerable to criminal attack.  But it is just plain absurd not to let American citizens merely transport a firearm in checked baggage.

The Wicker amendment is now part of the Senate passed version of the budget bill, but it is not in the House version.  Anti-gun members of the conference committee who will reconcile the two bills are expected to try to strip out the Wicker amendment.

GOA supports the efforts of Sen. Wicker to keep this language attached to the final bill that will be sent to President Obama.