Sunday, September 27, 2009

Amtrak + guns 2

I could be wrong. After a little more reading and investigation about the security of checked baggage on Amtrak trains, I am withholding judgment on the new mandate that Amtrak allow passengers to carry firearms in checked luggage. My point of view has changed after reading more about:

After all, you can never be too careful with characters on a train.

Let's hope the energy put into this debate can be transformed into positive attention for the demand for passenger rail, the need for increased funding and political support at every level.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Secretary LaHood's wallet

I haven't wondered much about the contents of our Transportation Secretary's wallet, but if you had the same question as the folks at Politico, then you might find this interesting. As the man charged with overseeing the revival of passenger rail in our country, I figured his wallet was worth a post.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Amtrak is armed

Not exactly. A lot has been said the last couple days about the potential of Amtrak allowing unloaded guns to be securely carried in checked baggage -- I want to emphasize the importance of the baggage not being accessible during the trip. Appealing to those passengers who desire to travel with their firearm(s), while not risking the safety of the crew or other passengers, would do well to increase ridership.

The last train robbery in the United States was The Great Dinky Robbery of 1963. During that heist, the guns were loaded with blanks (not that it would matter if someone was pointing what appeared to be a loaded gun at you) and the only property taken was 4 young women as dates for the bandits. The last real train robbery was out in Oregon in 1923. The point of this is that firearms have not been a problem on trains for a very long time. However a post 9/11 world raises it's concerns.

Trains are arguably the safest form of travel not only for passengers, but also for their belongings, securely stowed firearms included. Trains are also not as susceptible to being taken over by a passenger, since trains are on tracks and with PTC (positive train control) due to be in place by 12/31/2015. The airlines are necessarily sensitive and our nation's roads are the site of roughly 34,000 automobile deaths a year, while train passengers are typically insulated from bad drivers, Mother Nature's wrath and other dangers facing our roads and skies.

Allowing unloaded guns in securely checked baggage will not make Amtrak any less safe.

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