(S.A. Miller, WashingtonTimes.com) – Gun-toting Amtrak passengers are one giant step closer to being allowed to travel with firearms in their checked luggage, as lawmakers included a measure to lift a railroad gun ban in a catch-all spending bill for fiscal 2010.

The omnibus spending bill, which combines six annual appropriations bills for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, is considered must-pass legislation, and that makes the new Amtrak gun rule as close to a sure bet as there is on Capitol Hill.

Travelers with firearms have long faced disparate treatment on trains and airplanes. Airline passengers can transport firearms in checked baggage, but Amtrak currently prohibits guns anywhere on its trains.

This is an important victory for sportsmen and gun owners across the country, and it affirms congressional support of the Second Amendment, said Sen. Roger Wicker, Mississippi Republican, whose earlier efforts to lift the Amtrak gun ban paved the way for the measure’s inclusion in the year-end spending bill.

Airline passengers in our country are allowed to transport firearms in secure, checked baggage when declared during the check-in process,” Mr. Wicker said. “Law-abiding gun owners who choose to travel on Americas taxpayer-subsidized rail line should be given the same right.

Under the new law, firearms on trains would be treated similarly to those stored on airplanes.

Passengers would have to declare to Amtrak within 24 hours of departure that the unloaded firearm will be placed in luggage to be stored in the baggage car. The firearm must be carried in a locked, hard-sided container for which only the passenger has the combination or the key.

The House is expected to take up the spending bill as soon as this week, with Senate action soon to follow.

Copyright 2009 News World Communications, Inc.  Reprinted with permission of the Washington Times.  For educational purposes only.  This reprint does not constitute or imply any endorsement or sponsorship of any product, service, company or organization.  Visit the website at washingtontimes.com.


1. Define the following words as used in the article:
omnibus spending bill (para. 2)
appropriations (para. 2)
disparate (para. 3)

2. What is the difference between regulations for people traveling with firearms on Amtrak trains vs. airplanes?

3. How will this disparity soon change?

4. What right does the Second Amendment give American citizens?

5. What groups of people generally want to bring their firearms when traveling?

6. Taxpayer dollars subsidize Amtrak. Airlines are privately owned. Do you think travelers should be able to transport their firearms (unloaded, in checked baggage) on planes and trains? Explain your answer.

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