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Gun Lobby’s New Target: The Bus

Letting people carry firearms on transit vehicles is a new priority for the gun lobby in several states where legislation to expand concealed carry rules to buses and trains is gaining momentum.

Proponents of these bills imagine armed transit riders protecting themselves from would-be assailants. Some states, like Texas, already allow guns on transit.

Guns on transit: What could go wrong? Photo: King County Metro
Guns on transit: What could go wrong? Photo: King County Metro
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But not everyone thinks crowded buses are a great place for guns. The Chicago Tribune notes that a "granny" who had her purse stolen on a Detroit bus fired at the thief 11 times (she missed). Miraculously, no one was injured.

A big front in this battle is taking place right now in Missouri, where a bill would open buses and trains to handguns. Advocates like Citizens for Modern Transit in St. Louis oppose the proposal, saying it will undermine riders' safety:

In light of the current ongoing discussion in St. Louis on security on transit and the understanding that allowing firearms on public transit may serve as a detriment to ridership and has not been proven to enhance safety and security of the system, the Citizens for Modern Transit Board of Directors opposes any legislation which would allow carrying concealed weapons (CCW) on transit.

Several Missouri transit providers and organizations including Metro, KCATA, City Utilities of Springfield, and Missouri Public Transit Association have publicly expressed opposition to these bills as well.

“A safe, reliable, affordable, and efficient public transportation system increases access to health care, education, and employment in our region. Access to transit addresses inequities identified by the Ferguson Commission, and public transportation is key to expanding opportunity for all St. Louisans.  However, ridership experience -- especially safety and security on platforms, stations, trains and buses -- must be a top priority. If the public does not have confidence in the system’s safety and security, they are less likely to use the system and support public transit. Allowing firearms on transit is not the answer to enhancing the safety and security of these systems,” said Kim Cella, Executive Director of CMT.

CMT is urging locals to call their representatives and tell them to oppose the bill, SB 782.

Elsewhere on the Network today: The Dallas Morning News' Transportation Blog reports that Texas's high-speed rail plan has lost some key rural support. Bike Pittsburgh applauds the local transit agency's decision to lower long-distance fares. And in a study of contrasts, Urban Milwaukee compares famous streets around the country with local streets that share the same name.

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