Guns on trains

A “push in Congress for broader gun rights is threatening to derail Amtrak and stall a transportation spending bill,” wrote Walter Alarkon on on Oct. 25.

“Gun-rights advocates in Congress are pressing appropriators to keep a provision that would let Amtrak passengers check in handguns with their baggage.”

The provision, which calls for withholding $1.5 billion in Amtrak funding if the policy isn’t implemented before April, was inserted into the $68.8 billion Senate transportation and housing and urban development spending bill as an amendment. All 40 Republicans, 27 Democrats and one admitted socialist voted for the amendment, sponsored by Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss.

(The House version of the bill contains no such provision; the two would need to be “reconciled.”)

Gun-rights proponents have noted that Amtrak always allowed passengers’ guns on its trains, deciding to ban them only after the 2001 terror attacks.

Amtrak and its defenders in Congress have argued that the government-owned passenger line needs more time and resources before it can “allow” firearms onto trains.

“We don’t think we’ll be able to do that March 31 deadline, and, of course, finding the funding to make all of that happen,” said Amtrak spokesman Steve Kulm. Failing to meet the deadline and missing out on the $1.5 billion in appropriated funds — its entire funding request for 2010 — would bring a “cessation of train service nationwide,” Amtrak Chairman Thomas Carper wrote to the appropriators last month.

Mr. Kulm pointed out Amtrak trains and stations lack security systems seen at airports, baggage cars that are separate from passenger areas and a secure baggage loading area. Under its current policy, only law enforcement officers can bring guns onto its trains, he said.

Read it again. Since American train stations lack the insane strip-search lines, X-ray machines, and “turn your head while I grope you” protocols that have been installed at our airports, it doesn’t much matter who is or isn’t “allowed” to carry a self-defense handgun onto a train according to official Amtrak “policy.”

Yes, the various states through which your train may pass probably have their own, contradictory firearms bans and you’d thus be taking your chances should local law enforcement happen to notice that bulge in your coat when you step off to purchase a local newspaper on the platform. But that aside, in reality, pretty much anybody can carry a concealed weapon onto an Amtrak train, right now.

In terms of its usefulness to defend yourself and others when the next Colin Ferguson decides to step aboard and open fire (Long Island Railroad, Dec. 7, 1993, and how much good did “gun control” do his victims?), how on earth is it a step toward “broader gun rights” for the good senators to install a new system which requires us to unload our firearms, lock them in a box, and hand them to some railroad employee to seal them up in the baggage car for the duration of our trip?

I’m not sure why taxpayers in the 40-odd states with no regular Amtrak service should be subsidizing the riding habits of rich guys in the Boston-to-Washington corridor, at all. But if the congressmen ARE going to keep handing this toy train set a $1.5 billion annual subsidy, and if (as we’re informed) the senators’ goal is to “broaden our gun rights,” why not simply declare that — so long as they keep accepting those federal moneys — every Amtrak train and station is to be considered an island of federal freedom, where the Second and 14th Amendments shall hold sway? That so long as you’re on Amtrak property, “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” so long as the firearm or rocket launcher you’re carrying will fit under your seat or in the nearest luggage bin?

The Senate has already approved a separate provision this year that would allow “properly permitted” gun owners to carry in national parks. A July proposal that would have “allowed” gun owners carrying a permit from one state to carry concealed weapons in another (just as your driver’s license is good across state lines) fell just two votes short in the Senate.

Meantime, does anyone know why Democrats are suddenly stalling a bill to give the District of Columbia a voting representative in Congress — a bill they’ve long championed despite the fact it may well be unconstitutional?

Yup. “An amendment blocking Washington, D.C. officials from regulating guns” — proposed by Nevada Sen. John Ensign — was adopted by the Senate in February as part of a D.C. voting rights bill,” reports. “Democratic leaders in the House have since withheld consideration of the bill.”

What color are most residents of Washington, D.C.? The 14th Amendment was ratified 140 years ago to keep the states from enacting “black codes,” designed to disarm … who? And the national party most often accused of racism is … which one?

Wonder how Ku Klux Klan Exalted Cyclops (and Democratic U.S. Sen.) Robert Byrd weighed in on allowing the black residents of the District of Columbia to — finally, after 200 years — “keep and bear arms”?

2 Comments to “Guns on trains”

  1. John Brook Says:

    I’m looking forward to analysis and comments on the Ft Hood Islamo-fascist massacre. Ft Hood, and other military installations around the USA are “gun free” zones. No concealed carry permitted.

  2. Eric C. Sanders Says:

    Gun control is the one form of suppression of subhumans still countenanced by the soi-disant “liberals” who have done so much to destroy freedom in this country. Of course, it works on readers and other intellectuals, too.