NY Times Upset about Allowing People to Check Guns Onto Trains
In a shocking genuflection to the gun lobby, the Senate has voted to deny Amtrak its indispensable $1.6 billion federal subsidy unless it allows passengers to transport handguns in their checked luggage. The budget support would be stripped in six months unless Amtrak scraps the gun ban that it wisely adopted five years ago after the terrorist railroad atrocities in Madrid.
The majority vote was bipartisan and not even close, with 27 Democrats and one independent (the ultraliberal Bernie Sanders from gun-friendly Vermont) joining all 40 Republicans versus 30 opponents. The hope is that the House or President Obama will ultimately reject the Amtrak measure, but security-wary citizens cannot count on that as the gun lobby choreographs political cravenness. . . . .
Amtrak has none of the hermetic procedures where airport passengers are screened shoeless at detectors while their checked baggage is separately secured. Trains stop at stations and passengers come and go. Amtrak presently has a system of checking passengers and screening baggage at random, much the way New York police monitor mass transit.
If the Senate wants to pass a bill on Amtrak, it should provide the money to hire more security guards and create a real passenger rail system. Generally, it should just stop its demeaning homage to the gun lobby.
Now why does letting people check their guns on a train require that trains have "hermetic procedures where airport passengers are screened shoeless at detectors while their checked baggage is separately secured"? It seems that letting people check in their guns would actually lower the probability that they would try to take them on the train, not increase it.