Because traveling by train with up to 11 pounds of ammunition is an American right.
In a press release issued Tuesday, the nation’s intercity rail operator—which claims to “connect America in safer, greener, and healthier ways”—announced it was reversing a ban that had been in place since the September 11 terrorist attacks.
From Dec. 15, passengers can check unloaded firearms—including handguns, starter pistols and shotguns—and a maximum of 11 pounds of ammo at any Amtrak station that offers checked baggage service. That includes stations in Boston, Chicago, New York and Washington.
Speaking to USA Today, Andrew Arulanandam of the National Rifle Association supported the move. “We think it’s a good policy, and it’s reasonable to allow law-abiding people to have effective means for traveling with a firearm,” he said.
And while the new rules bring rail services in line with air travel—people can check weapons on planes, too—critics point out that Amtrak does not have the sophisticated security checks that airports do. For instance, Amtrak does not screen all of its passengers before they board its trains.