Comments Subscribe to Personal Liberty News Feed Subscribe to Personal Liberty

Funding For Amtrak Hinges On Gun Policy Amendment

November 24, 2009 by  

Funding for Amtrak hinges on gun policy amendment The upcoming debate in the House-Senate conference committee on the transportation funding bill is expected to pit advocates of gun rights against those who are concerned about the risk of greater violence on the nation’s transportation network.

The bill includes an amendment introduced by Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss), that would withhold $1.5 billion in Amtrak funding unless the company allows passengers to travel with firearms in their checked luggage.

Among the supporters of the measure is the National Rifle Association (NRA) which sees it as a vindication of Second Amendment rights. However, opponents have been alarmed by Amtrak’s admission that the carrier is unable to check baggage at 70 percent of stations and does not have the resources to secure checked luggage at the remaining 30 percent, according to Newsweek.

Moreover, in a recent letter several lawmakers from both parties wrote that "the deadly terrorist bombings of commuter trains in Madrid in 2004 and the ‘commando-style’ terrorist attack on a major rail station last November in Mumbai have emphasized the importance of passenger rail security in large urban areas," quoted by the news provider.

The House version of the transportation bill does not include the NRA-backed amendment, and the work is now underway to reconcile the two bills.

According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the number of new guns in the U.S. increases by about 4.5 million annually.

Special To Personal Liberty

You Sound Off! is written by our readers and appears the last Wednesday of each month. If you would like to submit an article or letter to the editor for consideration for You Sound Off!, send it to by the Friday before the last Wednesday of the month. To be considered, a submission should be 750 words or less and must include the writer's name, address and a telephone number. Only the writer's name will be published. Anonymous submissions will not be considered.

Facebook Conversations

Join the Discussion:
View Comments to “Funding For Amtrak Hinges On Gun Policy Amendment”

Comment Policy: We encourage an open discussion with a wide range of viewpoints, even extreme ones, but we will not tolerate racism, profanity or slanderous comments toward the author(s) or comment participants. Make your case passionately, but civilly. Please don't stoop to name calling. We use filters for spam protection. If your comment does not appear, it is likely because it violates the above policy or contains links or language typical of spam. We reserve the right to remove comments at our discretion.

Is there news related to personal liberty happening in your area? Contact us at

  • DaveH

    We all know what happens to a disarmed people when evil people decide to kill. Just ask the Fort Hood Victims.
    Does anybody think that terrorists are going to care if it is against the law to carry weapons on Amtrak?

    • libertytrain

      Dave H – excellent points.

    • Fed Up Gal in NM

      Dave H,

      Another striking analogy!

      I told you Dave…..Run and I might just vote for you….

      Fed Up Gal

  • Earlw

    DaveH has it right, no matter WHAT law you pass, it isn’t going to stop CRIMINALS from carrying them on board. I would rather not ride the train or fly, than not be armed in many of our larger cities today, let alone when the economy falls into the toilet and crime triples, which it is expected to do in the 1st quarter on 2012. Isn’t the fact that we have a CCW permit which is obtained under rigorous scrutiny from the FBI check enough? Just more of the same BS from the control freaks and insecure ninnies in government and liberal circle. They should be happy we’re there to protect their passengers IF a crime occurs!

    Terrorism is going to happen irregardless if we have all these laws, so smell the coffee and stop creating terrorist by invading and subjugating every county we want the resources of…….(Yeah, Oil).

    We the people know what the real agenda is who have been paying attention for any length of time. It’s all a big plan to institute world gov’t, and no one sane wants it. so we disarm everybody so there can be no resistance……It’s up to you, Americans. Immigrants don’t care!

    Rant complete…Your turn….

  • s c

    The only issue in this is whether or not AMTRAK provides the security that travelers expect and deserve. If AMTRAK isn’t any better than the lunacy found in American airports, then the matter is academic, and people would be stupid to travel on AMTRAK without a weapon.
    I’ve never been an AMTRAK passenger, so people who use that system can answer the question. DOES
    AMTRAK provide the necessary security, or is AMTRAK just another government failure waiting to implode? The answer can’t be that elusive.

  • robert

    I get it now!!! Giving Federal money to socialist organizations like Amtrak is evil, unless they agree to allow guns in their checked baggage. Then it magically becomes a “righteous” form of socialism and is worthy of $1.5 billion of taxpayer largess.

  • Myron J. Poltroonian

    When I was a child, during WW II and just after, I traveled across this country with my parents four times by train, from New England to California and back again. It was wonderful even if we didn’t have a “Roomette” and just went with Pullman service (Draw the curtains, upper and lower berths, etc.). There was never a question of who was responsible for our security while in motion, it was my father and every other able bodied man on board. We traveled with a great many service men going to, then coming back from war. We never felt safer. Of course the RRA decreed that for the privilege of being given land (right of way) and carrying freight for profit, the railroads had to provide passenger service as well. That was when they took pride in their rail service and showed it in the quality of their service and equipment. Today, AMTRAK shows about as much pride as the DMV – another government “Service” “Going Postal”.

    • Fed Up Gal in NM

      Myron JP,

      You said it right! Amtrak is just another taxpayer subsidized DMV/Postal type service. I don’t why anyone feels Amtrak is worth pouring millions into over and over and it continues to operate (or maybe veggetate is a better word) in the the RED!

      That roomette you referenced is extremely expensive now. I tried to book a couple of years ago, to travel from ABQ, NM to New Orleans and it was cost prohibitive (unless I sat in the regular seating area for about 3 days there and vice versa). Also, they don’t operate like a business trying to proactively “market” its’ service.

      I was quite surprised they don’t have some way of allowing pets to travel (even in a separate kennel type train car). The Amtrak rep got annoyed with me when I asked about the costs for my 2 small dogs to travel with me….she sarcastically said…”Ma’am….we can barely afford to function to get people from point A to point B, let alone their pets”. Doesn’t seem very business saavy to me…but what do I know. I do know I think it’s a total waste of money (taxpayer or otherwise) at this point.

      Fed Up Gal

  • Joe H.

    what was the name of the guy a few years back that shot the three or four guys that were accosting him with knives on the subway? If he had not been armed and loaded, he would have been dead, no doubt. If I remember right all they could get to stick was discharging a firearm in the city!!! They should have given him the key to the city for making the subway safer!!!

    • robert

      I don’t personally choose to carry a gun. I don’t personally choose to own a handgun although I do have a shotgun for hunting. Own a hand gund if you must, and carry it if you insist. But always remember, if you choose to have the gun, then you accept respopnsibility for every possible consequence that comes along with it. When you carry a gun, you automatically forfeit the right to make a mistake with it.

      • c lee

        I think that everyone that carrys legally knowa the exspectations and the consequence. the people that carry ilegally really dont care.

  • Mac

    Great perspective, Robert! I do own a handgun (same model/caliber that the Army spent a lot of time and money training me to be effective with) as well as a target grade .22 rifle and two 12 gauge shotguns. However, they never leave my property and are under lock and key when not being used. They don’t go with me on the “outside” for the very reasons you mention.

    As for you bashers of Amtrak (incidentally, the photo appears to be of the London Underground) you need to get over the fact that it is subsidized because all modes of transportation are subsidized — both here in the USA and world wide. If you think our highway/street system is funded entirely by the gas tax then you are inhaling the fumes (which, btw, are killing a lot of us). Same thing for commercial aviation. And if you are thinking that in some remote chance encounter with a terrorist or thug a concealed weapon might come in handy — then think of the 40,000 plus Americans that are killed each year on our highways (not to mentioned the maimed) and decide if perhaps maybe we could be more effective providing safer alternatives to highway travel?

    I agree that there are many instances where Amtrak could have done a much better job in selecting folks for jobs where they must deal with the public. Most of Amtrak’s staff is great but it appears that there is a class of employees who feel they are owed something for nothing and are able to take great advantage of the fact that once hired it is almost impossible to remove them.

    In spite of a net reduction is actual seat capacity, Amtrak has show significant annual gains for many years and the recent high gas prices gave us a great look at what four dollar gas does for ridership with an annual increase in ridership of over 10% — and it could have been much greater if Amtrak had the capacity to handle the demand. Obviously, President Obama (no doubt with the encouragement of VP Biden) has taken note and his administration has initiated the steps to begin some significant investment in our nation’s passenger rail system. Not nearly enough, but sufficient to begin making noticeable changes within the next three to five years (long time frame but, for example, the new rail car procurement process takes about three years). My guess is that by that time the cost of gas will be driving motorists to the rails in record numbers.

    Oh, and what do I do? Well, I work on cars. But, I can also see far enough down to the road to know that we need to be planning ahead for six and eight dollars a gallon gas. And, it will not affect how I make a living because folks will be keeping their cars longer (like they are now) and this means more repairs to keep them road worthy. Have you had your brakes inspected lately?

    • robert

      I worked for Amtrak for a while, and unfortunately found it to be so corrupt that I couldn’t stay there and maintain my integrity. I am not saying that everyone there is corrupt, but where I was, my refusal to fudge documents put me enough at odds with some of my fellow employees that I simply concluded that I had no future there. Some people in Amtrak management are definitely good people who give their best and try to make it work. Others are people who are simply in it for themselves. The trouble is that an employee can be either good or bad and it doesn’t seem to make much difference in terms of their standing with the company. A fellow named Joseph Vranich is a former disillusioned Amtrak employe who has written a book and quite a few thought provoking articles on how to dismantle Amtrak and replace it with a more market driven alternative. I don’t know whether his proposals are workable or not, but they are worthy of consideration. I believe in rail service in America… I just don’t believe in Amtrak anymore.

      As far what you say about cars, I agree. I do believe in automotive freedom, but like gun ownership, it is a right for responsible people like yourself. I recently talked with a genrally otherwise intelligent person who told me that he honestly believed that he should be allowed to text when he drives. My response to him was simple:…..”Not while I’m walkiing the streets you don’t.” We really need to crack down on who gets a driver’s license and who doesn’t in this country and stopping bowing down to automtive freedom like it is an inalienable human right, which it isn’t. People who do irresponsible things like drive drunk, text while they drives etc. should have their licenses revoked and their cars impounded. This wouldn’t reduce too many cars fromthe roads, but it would probably drastically reduce the numbers of incidents on the roads that cause many of our traffic tie ups and cause injury and death.

  • Joe H.

    All it costs me for repairs to my car is parts and a yearly proof set and un-circulated set. the guy that does the work is a man with 25 years experience as a head mechanic and he does very good by me as well as being my friend!!!

  • Joe H.

    Has anybody here from Texas got any complaints on Cornyn? I’ve studied a little about him and he seems conservative. Any thoughts? no libbers please!!!

  • Edmundo Piasecki

    Although I don’t agree with everything there are some good valid point made here.


Sign Up For Personal Liberty Digest™!

PL Badge

Welcome to,
America's #1 Source for Libertarian News!

To join our group of freedom-loving individuals and to get alerts as well as late-breaking conservative news from Personal Liberty Digest™...

Privacy PolicyYou can opt out at any time. We protect your information like a mother hen. We will not sell or rent your email address to anyone for any reason.