Today, Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Congressman John Fleming (R-La.) announced that the effort to allow hunters and sportsmen to check in firearms in checked luggage on Amtrak trains is moving forward as scheduled.
As required by law, this week Amtrak submitted a Congressionally mandated report that outlines the guidance and procedures necessary to implement a new firearm carriage program for secure and checked luggage. The report noted that Amtrak is on schedule to meet the December 2010, implementation date.
"I am glad that Amtrak met its statutorily required deadline and is on track to implement the checked firearms program by December. Soon, train passengers will have the same right as air travelers to securely transport firearms in checked baggage. The enactment and eventual implementation of this program sends a clear message that Congress will continue to protect Americans' Second Amendment rights," said Sen. Wicker.
"Our Founding Fathers made it very clear that our Second Amendment rights are not to be infringed upon. This important provision enables law-abiding sportsmen and hunters traveling on Amtrak trains to enjoy the same rights as air travelers by allowing firearms to be checked in the secure baggage area. I am very pleased to learn that Amtrak is on track to meet its December deadline for implementation. This strong bipartisan measure is an essential part of the effort to reclaim our Second Amendment rights which have been eroded over the years by activist judges and liberal lawmakers," said Rep. Fleming.
On December 16, 2009, the President signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L.111-117) into law. The bill included a provision authored by Senator Wicker, which mirrored separate bills introduced by Wicker and Representative Fleming. Section 159 of the law directs Amtrak to implement the procedures necessary to provide storage and carriage of firearms in checked baggage cars and at Amtrak stations that accept checked baggage within one year of the bill's enactment.
The law states that if an Amtrak station accepts luggage for a specific route, passengers must be able to lawfully transport firearms and ammunition in secure baggage based on the following guidelines:
* The passenger must declare to Amtrak within 24-hours of departure that the firearm will be placed in his or her checked baggage;
* The firearm must be unloaded and carried in a hard-sided container;
* The hard-sided container must be locked and only the passenger has the combination or key for the container.
Amtrak will be initiating a public awareness campaign to educate passengers of the changes.