Amtrak will let passengers transport unloaded guns on trains beginning Dec. 15, reversing a ban in place since the 2001 terror attacks. Travelers can check firearms–including handguns, rifles and shotguns–and up to 11 pounds of ammunition at any train station that offers checked baggage service and if the travelers’ itinerary includes a train with a baggage car. Most big-city train stations, including New York, Boston, Chicago and Washington, have checked-baggage service.
The gun prohibition “was an overreaction” after the 9/11 attacks, said Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., who proposed lifting the ban as part of a 2010 appropriations bill. The new rules bring train travel in line with air travel, where passengers are allowed to check firearms in an airplane’s baggage compartment, Wicker said. The NRA supports the new guidelines. But gun-control advocates say the new rules make train travel less secure. “A baggage car is not like an airplane cargo hold,” said Daniel Vice, senior attorney at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “Baggage cars are not as secured. Amtrak security has a lot of concerns about it.”