Wicker Amendment Passes Overwhelmingly

An amendment to end the complete gun prohibition on Amtrak trains passed overwhelmingly Wednesday in the U.S. Senate by a vote of 68-30. 

Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) offered the amendment to allow law-abiding gun owners to safely and legally transport firearms when they travel on Amtrak.   Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS)

Current Amtrak regulations prohibit firearms in both checked and carry-on baggage. Sportsmen who wish to use an Amtrak train for a hunting trip, therefore, 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 firearm in their checked luggage, even if they are allowed to carry in both the states of origin and destination. 

But if such travelers were to take the trip by air, they could check a gun onto the aircraft by simply declaring the firearm and transporting it in a prescribed manner.

Of course, very few people use Amtrak — and many question why that entity receives any tax payer money.   Regardless, a transportation entity that receives billions of federal taxpayer dollars should not be allowed to prevent law-abiding citizens from hunting or defending themselves when they travel on vacation or personal business.  

Sen. Wicker’s amendment prohibits any federal taxpayer funding of Amtrak if it does not allow gun owners to transport firearms on trains in a manner similar to that of airlines. Under this amendment, travelers would be able to transport a firearm from Amtrak stations that accept checked baggage as long as the firearm is declared and carried in a hard-sided, 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. Wicker.

The amendment was attached to the 2010 Transportation-Housing & Urban Development Appropriations bill and must now be reconciled with the House-passed bill, which does not contain the Wicker amendment.  A similar amendment passed the Senate in April as part of the budget bill, but was ultimately stripped out by a House-Senate conference committee.