Bloomberg and Dems Blast Congressional Plan to Let Guns on Amtrak

Mayor 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.

350.0.1.0.16777215.0.stories.large.2009.09.20.McCarthy.jpgMayor Bloomberg, far left, with members of Congress at yesterday’s press conference. Photo: Epoch Times

Bloomberg, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) were joined by the Democratic mayors of Philadelphia, Jersey City, and Trenton, along with NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, at a Penn Station press conference intended to spotlight Republican senators’ successful bid — with the help of 27 Dems — to deny Amtrak any U.S. DOT funds next year unless the train network accepts firearms in baggage.

Local reporters found Bloomberg unabashedly critical of the Senate’s move:

“If anyone in Congress thinks the threat of terrorist attacks on trains have gone away, they are mistaken,” the mayor said. Bloomberg said that the Amtrak security was already pretty lax, and if
the new bill passes, there wouldn’t be anything keeping someone from
carrying multiple assault weapons in their baggage.

“And the American people will blame the Senate if a terrorist attack
does occur,” he said. “It has nothing to do with the second amendment
and the right to bear arms, but everything to do with keeping
passengers safe.”

The Amtrak amendment is not the first time this summer that Bloomberg, who is running for a third term this fall on the GOP and Independent tickets, has weighed in on the issue of gun possession. The mayor helped mobilize opposition to a July amendment from Sen. John Thune (D-SD) that would have relaxed rules governing the transport of concealed weapons across state lines.

Nor is yesterday’s press conference the first gauntlet thrown over the Amtrak amendment, which would force the train network to significantly strengthen its security screening process without providing any federal aid to help with such a move.

On Thursday a gun-rights group in Washington state accused Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) of showing "bigotry" against gun owners by voting against the amendment — a charge aimed at pressuring Democrats into keeping the provision in the final version of the 2010 U.S. DOT spending bill.

The final word may not come until next month at the earliest, when negotiators from the Senate and House, which did not take up the guns-on-Amtrak question, will unveil the merged version of their two chambers’ transportation bills.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Bloomberg Pitches Pricing to Brooklyn Assembly Members

|
From The Daily Politics: Mayor Bloomberg hosted members of the Brooklyn Assembly delegation at Gracie Mansion this morning as part of his ongoing lobbying effort on congestion pricing, which the Legislature must sign off on by the end of next month in order to land the full $354 million pledged by the US DOT. About […]

Today: Dueling Congestion Pricing Press Events

|
State Assembly Member Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester) is releasing his report on Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s congestion pricing proposal on the steps of City Hall today at 2:00 pm. Billed as "the first thorough, independent, and fair-minded" analysis (Apparently, the Partnership for New York’s two-year study wasn’t thorough and Bruce Schaller’s massive body of research wasn’t independent […]

City Holds Its Breath for Silver

|
At the end of last week it appeared Mayor Bloomberg was on the verge of pulling it off. Having scored a congestion pricing bill in the state Senate, coaxed a cautious endorsement from the governor, and all but securing a near half-billion dollar pledge from Washington, Bloomberg sailed into Friday’s state Assembly hearings on a […]

From Denver: Dems Discuss Funding Woes; Biden Says “Amtrak”

|
Last night saw what might one day qualify as an historic moment in transportation circles, as vice presidential candidate Joe Biden used the "A"-word during his speech to the Democratic National Convention in Denver. From a transcript of Biden’s address, via CNN: You know, John McCain is my friend. And I know you hear that […]