Today by a vote of 68-30 the U.S. Senate passed a measure to allow weapons to be carried on Amtrak. As a long-time railfan and a person that spends time around Amtrak equipment, employees and station facilities I think if passed. This legislation could lead to some real problems for this important transporation resource.
This isn't an arguement over constitutional rights to carry firearms. Its an arguement that Amtrak simply does not have the resources to be able to offer this service. Any person that has been on Amtrak can attest to how understaffed this carrier is in addition to station facilities that often have no staff at all. The legislation calls for checked baggage as a means of carriage. I've seen passengers get on Amtrak trains and not even having their tickets checked.
And it doesn't get much better. For example the Amtrak Vermonter that runs from Washington, D.C. though Vermont enroute to its terminus at St. Albans passes through great stretches of territory where there is basically no law enforcement presence including the Vermont State Police who I understand are are a distance away from the station stops north of White River Junction. Especially in the dead of winter.
This example is in a rural area of Vermont.
Just imagine how sophisticated these issues could become....
"The measure, an amendment to the transportation and housing appropriations bill, passed 68-30.
The House version of the bill, passed in July, does not include the provision, so further steps would be needed for it to reach President Obama's desk.
Amtrak's current policy prohibits passengers from carrying "any type of gun, firearm, ammunition, explosives or weapon" in carry-on or checked baggage."