Pro-Gun Group: Senator Shows ‘Bigotry’ by Opposing Firearms on Amtrak

Thirty Democratic senators voted against yesterday’s successful GOP bid to allow guns and ammunition in checked baggage on Amtrak — but only one of the 30 is on the receiving end of a strongly worded attack today by gun-rights advocates.

2922934877_7c2c3db625.jpgSen. Patty Murray (D-WA) (Photo: Seattle Transit Blog)

The Citizens’ Committee to Keep and Bear Arms (CCKBA), a pro-gun group founded 38 years ago and now headquartered in Washington state, accused its home-state senator Patty Murray (D) of "bigotry" for opposing the Amtrak amendment offered by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS).

CCKBA chairman Alan Gottlieb said in his statement:

Patty Murray evidently has a short memory span. Has she already forgotten what happened to her friend, Seattle
Mayor Greg Nickels, in the primary because of his extremist anti-gun
philosophy? Surely she knows about Tuesday’s primary election results in New
York City, where anti-gunner Richard Aborn came in last in a three-way race
for Manhattan prosecutor by running on his gun control record. …

Amtrak has been losing money for years. Maybe it’s because American gun owners won’t travel with a carrier that treats them like
outcasts. Maybe gun owners will return that sentiment when Murray runs for
re-election next year.

The Washington state connection is not the only reason for Murray to attract the CCKBA’s ire. The senator chairs the panel that crafted the 2010 U.S. DOT spending bill which now contains the guns-on-Amtrak provision, meaning that she could potentially pull it during conference talks with the House later this year.

And with Amtrak pleading for more "time and funding to properly address" the new gun-carrying requirement, there seems to be a sufficient rationale for removing Wicker’s amendment from the final version of the bill.

Pro-gun advocates such as Gottlieb argued yesterday that since airlines are already required to transport guns that are unloaded and locked in checked baggage, but Amtrak chairman Thomas Carper pointed out yesterday that his train system has more easily accessible baggage storage and currently lacks a uniform system for bag screening.

The final decision on the amendment does not rest with Murray alone; still, the CCKBA’s approach to the senator, who remains popular in her home state despite a recent approval-ratings dip, has the potential to backfire.

  • Dealer

    Why does this bill require baggage screening? They don’t do it now.

  • Dealer

    You forgot to mention that you used to be able to check guns on Amtrak before 2004.

  • What was Sen. Wicker and the senators who voted for this thinking??? For many reasons, allowing guns on Amtrak (which doens’t store bags like airlines do) is an incredibly idiotic and dangerous idea! One example is the stupidity is that many, many Amtrak trains travel throughout the mortheast from Boston to DC. And, obviously, cities in this part of the country have huge populations and are considered prime targets for terrorist attacks.

    “Maybe it’s because American gun owners won’t travel with a carrier that treats them like outcasts.”

    Unless the preceding was an attempt at humor, it is a ridiculous assertion! Everyone knows that by and large, people who own guns drive pick-up trucks.

  • Lie Detective

    Alan Gottlieb doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Or, more likely, he’s misrepresenting the facts to suit his cause.

    I can’t speak for Seattle, but Richard Aborn’s loss in the race for Manhattan DA could be chalked up to many factors. For one, he ran against a well-known judge and a perhaps even better-known candidate with a famous name — the winner, Cy Vance — who was endorsed by the 35-year incumbent. His record on gun control was never held against him. The reality may clash with Gottlieb’s violent urban fantasies, but Manhattanites don’t tend to recoil from politicians whose backgrounds include keeping kids from getting shot.

    Current DA Robert Morgenthau just sent Plaxico Burress to jail for two years for shooting *himself*. Vance was his chosen successor. Does Gottlieb really think New Yorkers elected him in the hopes that he’d be soft on guns? Does he really think anyone else believes that? Please.

    As for the actual issue at hand, I’ve been a gun owner for 20 years. I also rely on Amtrak for many interstate trips (unlike some, I’m not so afraid of the world that I can’t leave home unarmed). My biggest problem with this bill, other than the ignorant, seedy cast of characters who support it, is that it will likely put a further financial strain on Amtrak while benefiting very few.

  • Dan Frain

    I checked the violent crime rates for the large cities on the route you cited. Boston has a higher crime rate (7) than NYC (6), and Washington, DC was higher than both of them (8).

    I got this information from, who explain their ratings thus:

    The crime indices range 1-10. A higher number corresponds with more crime. Our crime rates are based on FBI data.

    Rather than putting them in baggage, you should put your gun in a shoulder holster if you take that route.

  • JeffBinTX

    OK, so in response to the BOMBING of a train in Spain we banned firearms on Amtrak. If you just dropped in from another planet you might wonder: why didn’t they just ban bombs on Amtrak? But even you gun-grabbers realize the obvious idiocy of that, right? Those intent on mayhem do not obey any laws. So the next argument about being allowed to check unloaded firearms is that there’s no safe place to store them. They might be lost or stolen. So once again the logical response might be: what if we allowed their legitimate, licensed, law-abiding owners to keep them secure on their persons? And then what if we thought even more logically and decided that they could even be loaded so that those good people might be able to stop criminals or terrorists who board the train with evil intent? Guns in the hands of good people are no vice. And these types of laws disarm only the good.


Bloomberg and Dems Blast Congressional Plan to Let Guns on Amtrak

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg teamed up with two Democratic members of Congress yesterday to blast the Senate for its vote in favor of forcing Amtrak to allow guns and ammunition in passengers’ checked baggage. New York City Mayor Bloomberg, far left, with members of Congress at yesterday’s press conference. (Photo: Epoch Times) Bloomberg, […]

Cutting Train Budgets Could De-Rail Transamerican Routes

The idyllic cross-country train trips that many Americans still take could get derailed by today’s “slash and burn” federal budget policies. Meanwhile, fears for the safety of rail passengers in the post-bin Laden era are drumming up political support for costly security measures and raising, once again, questions about why the federal government funds rail […]

Wins For Washington (State): Transport Bill Resolves Two Local Debates

Tucked into the transportation spending bill that Congress approved over the weekend are two wins for Washington state’s senior senator, Patty Murray (D), who chairs the upper chamber’s transport budget-writing panel. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) (Photo: Seattle Times) Murray’s first victory deals with Bush-era rules for charter buses that barred local transit agencies from providing […]

Dem and GOP Senators Seek More Long-Term Rail Vision From Obama Aides

The senior Democratic and Republican senators in charge of setting annual transportation spending levels today urged the leader of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to develop a more comprehensive plan for using the White House’s high-speed rail program to spur the development of viable U.S. train networks. FRA chief Joseph Szabo (l.) and Amtrak CEO […]

LaHood Answers GOP Critic, Soothes Dem Skeptic of Sustainability Budget

As Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood tangled with a senior GOP senator today over the White House’s $500 million-plus request for its inter-agency office of sustainable communities — a new project aimed at channeling federal energy towards local transit-oriented and smart growth plans — an influential Democrat joined her fellow senator in raising questions about diverting […]