Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Guns on Amtrak

Ok, what the hell? All the news programs I've seen in the last two days have been talking about this, and in my opinion, this is the biggest non-news item ever.


Is allowing passengers.

To take guns onto their trains.


Oh ... it has to be an unloaded gun, checked into the baggage compartment, and you have to call the train station in advance to let them know you'll be checking the gun!

That's basically like shipping the gun. You're not allowing the passengers to take guns on the train ... you're allowing them to transport their property!

I don't care what the hell you check into the baggage compartment, to be honest. I like to ride the train between cities in Southern California (great way to travel without the headache of having to drive or go through airport security). I can get on an Amtrak train by walking up to an Amtrak pseudo-ATM, stick in my credit card, and tell it where I want to go. If I'm not checking bags, the first Amtrak person I see is the conductor who takes my ticket once I'm on the train!

So does it matter what bags are checked? No. I am not afraid that an honest, law abiding citizen who lets Amtrak know, "Hey, I'm going to bring an unloaded gun to check into the baggage compartment," is going to go get the gun mid-trip and rob the train Jesse James style. And it's not like they're going to get it, hijack the train, and ram it into a building.

The person who is going to try something stupid and illegal is the one to takes a loaded gun in his carry-on. And if they're planning on doing something, they're not going to call in advance. AND since there's no security check at train stations, by the time the weapon is detected, it will be too late.

So why the heck are do many news agencies have their undies in a knot over the 'new' Amtrak rules?

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