Transporting guns on Amtrak


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38snapcaps
October 18, 2006, 12:47 PM
My daughter lives on the other side of the side, about two hours by train.
I have a concealed handgun permit for my State.

We usually drive to see her, and may stay a weekend. The traffic (NW of Detroit) is terrible and we are considering taking the train and have her pick us up at the train station.

How am I supposed to transport my pistol considering its against the law to have a firearm on a passenger train?

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wdlsguy
October 18, 2006, 12:52 PM
As far as I know, it isn't against the law to have a handgun on a train in Michigan, but it is against Amtrack policy. I would find another way to get there. Whatever you do, don't try to check it without telling them.

Trebor
October 18, 2006, 02:18 PM
Amtrak is a quasi-Federal agency and runs under federal regs. They prohibit passengers from carrying weapons. I believe they are now also conducting searches for weapons. You'd have to check on their policy on weapons in baggage.

cloudedice
October 18, 2006, 03:55 PM
I found this on the Virginia Citizens Defense League website, dated 7/24/06. I bolded the most important bits.

15. AMTRAK and firearms
*****************************************************

VCDL member John Donald sent me the following email. It is a
reminder not to use anti-gun AMTRAK:

Philip,

There was an incident last night of a man with a gun on an Amtrak
train in Arlington. They stopped the train and called the Amtrak
office in Union Station who in turn called Arlington police. They
responded (in force I might add), took the man into custody and
turned him over to the Amtrak police when they finally showed up.

As a result, I sent an email to Amtrak asking about their policy
regarding firearms on Amtrak trains. Below is the response I got.

Just thought you might be interested. Would they be covered by the
law of the state they are in at any point in time or are they
federally protected, or what? [AMTRAK was created by an Act of
Congress, so it is probably covered under Federal Law - PVC] Do they
enjoy the same restrictions airlines have regarding firearms? [Their
restrictions are worse than most airlines - PVC] Is TSA/Amtrak
"policy" trumped by VA law or vice versa? [VA law is trumped - PVC]

John Donald

--

Dear John Donald,

Thank you for your inquiry.

Our policy is listed below.

Firearms And Weapons On Board Trains
=2E
1. It is Amtrak's policy that only qualified active law
enforcement officers employed by a local, state, federal
or railroad law enforcement agency on official business
be permitted to carry handguns or small weapons (not
exposed or needlessly displayed) aboard Amtrak trains.
=2E
2. A "qualified active law enforcement officer" is defined
as an employee of a government agency or railroad who:
=2E
- is authorized by law to engage in or supervise the
prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution or
the incarceration of any person for any violation of
law,
- has statutory powers of arrest,
- is authorized by the agency to carry a firearm,
- is not the subject of any disciplinary action by the
agency,
- Meets the standards, if any, established by the agency

which require the employee to regularly qualify in the
use of a firearm,
- is not under the influence of alcohol or other
intoxicating or hallucinatory drug or substance, and
- is not prohibited by federal law from possessing a
firearm.
=2E
3. Under no circumstances is a non-law enforcement
individual permitted to carry a firearm aboard Amtrak
trains.
=2E
4. Firearms, ammunition and/or other weapons, whether or not
packaged, are prohibited in carry-on baggage or on the
person at all times, even if the person has a permit to
carry. There are no exceptions, other than as stated in
sections 1 and 2.
=2E
5. Firearms, ammunition and other weapons are never
permitted in checked baggage or in Amtrak express.

Sincerely,
Arletta
Amtrak Customer Service


http://www2.vcdl.org/cgi-bin/wspd_cgi.sh/vcdl/vadetail.html?RECID=958752&FILTER=

Manedwolf
October 18, 2006, 04:00 PM
Yeah, figures. Seems like more and more, the only way to get 2A rights to protect your family is to be a cop.

Standing Wolf
October 18, 2006, 06:17 PM
Our hard-earned tax dollars at play on behalf of socialism.

'Card
October 18, 2006, 06:58 PM
I ride Amtrak on a pretty regular basis. In my opinion, for regional travel (say a 2-5 hour trip) it beats flying hands down.

I would never encourage or advise anyone to violate the law or Amtrak's regulations, but I would say that neither I nor my luggage (both checked and carry-on) have ever been scanned, probed, x-rayed, searched, questioned, or examined while boarding, riding, or departing an Amtrak train. I've also never witnessed anyone else being examined. In fact, I don't think I've ever so much as seen a metal detector at an Amtrak station.

Take it for what it's worth.

Car Knocker
October 18, 2006, 08:36 PM
Amtrak police? Must be an East Coast thing.

junyo
October 18, 2006, 08:46 PM
I would never encourage or advise anyone to violate the law or Amtrak's regulations, but I would say that neither I nor my luggage (both checked and carry-on) have ever been scanned, probed, x-rayed, searched, questioned, or examined while boarding, riding, or departing an Amtrak train. I've also never witnessed anyone else being examined. In fact, I don't think I've ever so much as seen a metal detector at an Amtrak station.Never even been asked to produce ID, let alone searched. And I ride the Philly/DC/Richmond corridor all the time.

the 22 junkie
October 19, 2006, 12:21 AM
Passenger trains? What the heck are those things? :p :confused:

Manedwolf
October 19, 2006, 08:52 AM
Passenger trains? What the heck are those things?

On the east coast, they're generally a device for going somewhere slowly at great expense while getting a panoramic view of the worst parts of American cities. Bonus for the excitement of smashing into a truck at a rural crossing, extra bonus for being thrown from your seat/bunk/out of the train entirely when it hits another train. Extra double bonus if the other train hit is tank cars of flammable and/or toxic chemicals.

Acela is the one exception, but I'd rather take a plane.

DogBonz
October 19, 2006, 09:28 AM
I'm not advising you to break any laws, but form experience, amtrak doesn't check bags, especially carry on's. Over the last year I have taken Amtrak from NYC to Boston almost every weekend to work on a consulting project in bean town. I have only once seen someone searched, and that was because he was very drunk, belligerent to the crew, and threatened them. I have never been even asked for ID. My girlfriend got my ticket for me once, and not knowing how to use the ticket machine, it had HER NAME on it. The conductor looked at the ticket, looked at me, looked at the ticked, punched it, and walked away. If it is not illegal, I wouldn’t worry about a conductor “making” you.

armoredman
October 19, 2006, 09:33 AM
Another vote for driving, even at today's gas prices. My vehicle, my rules. I rode the BART in San Francisco, and the "L" in Chicago, and have no interest in being on another commuter train.

IN>IL
October 19, 2006, 09:46 AM
I have literally been a passenger on Amtrak a thousand times... five days a week for the past seven years, and I have never ever had any sort of search. I regularly carry on board trains, and in fact preventing an attack on another passenger by a drunk who took a hammer out of his bag. The Amtrak Police, whom I didn't know existed, thanked me for my help and NEVER mentioned that firearms are not allowed on trains.

Not that I am telling you to break the law, just my experience!

michaelbane
October 19, 2006, 09:57 AM
TSA was at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia for a few days this past spring. They were searching for explosives. Window dressing, if you ask me.

As for those who are surpised that Amtrak has a police force, yes they do. They're just like any other railroad police department. They're more prevalent on the East Coast because that's where the bulk of Amtrak's business is.

Autolycus
October 19, 2006, 10:15 AM
After the train bombings in Spain they started searching people more often. I took the Amtrak down to school a couple of times and I got on at Union Station in Chicago and got off in Carbondale IL. They had K9 officers. I dont know if the dogs can smell the gun powder in the bullets or on the gun but I chose not to risk it in Chicago. Either way it is a law that really needs to be repealed.

However on the Amtrak I noticed that the baggage was stored at the back of the car so someone could easily walk off with your luggage. Or they could rummage through it as well. I really felt uncomfortable with that setup. I assume that if you get a sleeper you will be better off.

'Card
October 19, 2006, 11:30 AM
If taking Amtrak would require overnight travel, I'll generally fly. But for regional stuff? I like Amtrak a lot.

For example, I have to travel to DC occasionally. It takes about 5 hours to get there driving, and then I have to fight the (insane) DC traffic. Flying takes about 5 hours (only 1.5 of which are you actually in the air) once you factor in all the security hassles and getting your luggage - and pray they don't lose it. On Amtrak, it costs a lot less, I'm standing in Union Station (right downtown) in about 4 and half hours, it's a pleasant trip through some nice country, and I take my laptop along and usually get a lot of work done on the way. What's not to like about that?

Leatherneck
October 19, 2006, 12:08 PM
I'm assuming you don't travel with a firearm, right 'Card?

Union station with a weapon in your tote is not a good situation to be in.

TC

S4Lee
February 19, 2008, 04:06 PM
In light of the local news stories about Amtrack beefing up security, I started wondering if a bomb-sniffing dog would detect gunpowder residue, and decided to look up Amtrack's policy on thier site. Interestingly enough, I found this:

"All travel on, and transactions with, Amtrak is governed by the laws of the District of Columbia, United States of America, without regards to its principles of conflicts of law. You agree to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of any State or Federal court located in the District of Columbia, United States of America, and waive any jurisdictional, venue or inconvenient forum objections to such courts."
http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=Amtrak/am2Copy/Simple_Copy_Page&c=am2Copy&cid=1093554049471&ssid=149

So, now I'm wondering what the outcome of Heller vs. DC would be on travel on Amtrack? :D

On a side note, they have really gone out of their way to establish a "First Amendment Policy":
http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=Amtrak/am2Copy/Simple_Copy_Page&c=am2Copy&cid=1093554044354&ssid=462

I would love to see how thier "Second Amendment Policy" would read (complete with "In Amtrak's interest...." bullet points from the PDF).

Nate C.
February 19, 2008, 10:34 PM
I never had any problems on Amtrak on the LA-to-San Diego run. It was quite pleasant and relaxing, especially when you could look out the window and see the gridlock. I made that trip a number of times over the course of several years.

Technosavant
February 20, 2008, 11:17 AM
There was a news story (http://www.myfoxstl.com/myfox/pages/News/Detail?contentId=5827010&version=1&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=TSTY&pageId=3.2.1) on local TV last night about increasing security at the St. Louis Amtrak depot.

(KTVI - myFOXstl.com) --

Catching a flight means tight security. Itís just an expected part of air travel these days. But when boarding any train out of St. Louis, the only sight of security is a short chain link fence and friendly face taking tickets.

Due to passenger input Amtrak will start implementing plans which will see searches of baggage, security guards on board, and bomb sniffing technology. That is a much more than just checking passenger manifests for marked names, which is what they had been doing up to that point.

"They should do that make it more safe around here," says Darez Farmer.

Farmer says he's been caught up in a bomb scare on Amtrak.

"We had to all get off the train in Joliet. We did that one time," says frequent rider Farmer. "They thought it was a bomb threat."

That was just a threat, but what has happened in Spain, London, and India should be threatening enough.

For some passengers the bigger worry is explosive customers instead of explosive materials.

"I think at least guards on the trains in case something does happen with a rowdy passenger," says Chicago-bound passenger Sharee Westfall. "I think that's a wonderful idea."

Those climbing aboard and those sending loved ones off in St. Louis say the inconvenience of added security is far from a nuisance, instead a way of life.

"We were just at the arch we had to put our bags in just like we were at the airport," says Westfall, "it wouldn't bother me at all it's the age we live in."

Apparently as near as I can figure, they are worried about:
1) Hijacking the train and taking it to Cuba or someplace else. If somebody has a gun, they might take that thing God knows where.
2) Suicide bombers. Because, you know, nobody could EVER truck a bomb out into the wilderness and rig it up on a trestle and blow it as the train went by, instead of putting it on board.
3) Rowdy passengers. Because disarming everybody is the best way to deal with someone who MIGHT get out of control. I guess I missed all the stories about people freaking out at an altitude of 8 feet and a speed of 80mph, where opening a door could ruffle the passengers' hair.

I can understand a basic need for security at some places, but this is nothing more than feel-good security; it won't make any actual difference in the true safety of the passengers. And from the article, it appears to be working at making people feel all warm and fuzzy.

oldjeeps
February 21, 2008, 09:40 PM
My daughter lives on the other side of the side, about two hours by train.
I have a concealed handgun permit for my State.

We usually drive to see her, and may stay a weekend. The traffic (NW of Detroit) is terrible and we are considering taking the train and have her pick us up at the train station.

How am I supposed to transport my pistol considering its against the law to have a firearm on a passenger train?

On a marginally related note, in Michigan (especially the Port Huron to Chicago line) Amtrak doesn't get you very far in two hours.
Last time I was on it was to Chicago and I probably could have driven it faster.

Aguila Blanca
February 21, 2008, 09:47 PM
Yeah, figures. Seems like more and more, the only way to get 2A rights to protect your family is to be a cop.
Even being a cop is no help. The Amtrak policy only allows police to carry if they are on official business.

Sic transit LEO national concealed carry. As a practical matter, of course, I seriously doubt the Arlington or Amtrak police would roust a brother officer, despite the policy being crystal clear that off-duty police carry is not allowed.

esq_stu
February 21, 2008, 10:21 PM
The quote in #5 above does not say whether the person charged with anything. For all we know, someone saw the gun, freaked out, called the police, and the police did what police do. If I carried in a store and someone saw my gun, they might also call the police and I might also be accosted and questioned.

If it's not unlawful to carry, then it seems to me the most they can do is ask you to leave if they discover you carrying. Which is how it would work if you enter a store in Michigan with a "no guns" sign. If it's not unlawful, I agree with "don't ask don't tell." I don't know the laws of train travel, so I won't venture an opinion.

Autolycus
February 21, 2008, 11:59 PM
It is illegal to carry on Amtrak.

To clarify my old post...

I cannot carry here in Illinois. Even on the train I did not want to stick a pistol case in my bag or any ammo as I was leaving Chicago. I believe that it is illegal to CCW on Amtrak anywhere.

As far as LEOs go, I am not sure. I would check www.officer.com and do a search for Amtrak.

anotherjohndoe
February 22, 2008, 10:34 AM
One of the news stories I saw on the recent increase in Amtrak searches noted that you do not have to submit to a search, but if you refused - you would not be able to travel with them.

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