New Amtrak Policy To Allow Guns On Trains

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Amtrak passengers will soon be allowed to bring guns aboard trains, a policy change pushed by gun advocates.

Congress ordered the reversal of a gun ban that had been in place on the government-owned railroad for nearly a decade, reports the Sacramento Bee. The policy change takes effect Dec. 15.

The new rail policy is in line with air travel rules that allow unloaded guns to be stored in locked baggage holds.

Gun owners will need to let Amtrak know 24 hours in advance of their intention to bring firearms onboard and the unloaded guns will need to be packed in hard-sided containers. These will be placed in special storage lockers - guns will not be allowed on trains that don't have checked baggage service.

Amtrak says gun storage lockers are being added to rail cars. But officials say they don't know how many people will want to bring firearms on trains.

The National Rifle Association and U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi pushed for the policy change.

"We worked hard for this," says NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam. "It is reasonable for law-abiding people who wish to travel with firearms to be able to do so."

A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) spokesman tells the newspaper the change is fine as long as security rules are enforced. "It's deemed safe and appropriate," says TSA spokesman Nico Melendez.

But Daniel Vice of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence warns the new policy makes it easier for terrorists to bring weapons on trains.

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