Amtrak to Allow Firearms in Checked Baggage

WASHINGTON – Effective Dec. 15, Amtrak will begin to accept unloaded firearms in checked baggage at stations and on trains operating within the United States that offer checked baggage service.

This change in the Amtrak checked baggage policy is required by Section 159 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-117) enacted by Congress in December 2009.

Not all Amtrak served stations or trains offer checked baggage service. It is important that passengers seeking to travel with their firearms contact Amtrak prior to their trip to confirm which stations and trains offer checked baggage service.

Passengers are required by law to notify Amtrak and declare that they will be checking firearms and/or ammunition no later than 24 hours before train departure. Reservations for firearms or ammunition can be made only by calling the Amtrak reservations number as online reservations are not accepted. All firearms (rifles, shotguns, handguns, starter pistols) must be unloaded and in an approved, locked hard-sided container. The passenger must have sole possession of the key or the combination for the lock to the container.

Locked, hard-sided containers containing smaller unloaded firearms such as handguns and starter pistols must be securely stored within a suitcase or other item of checked baggage. Rifles and shotguns will be stored in secure cabinets or areas of train stations and baggage cars. All passengers must complete a firearms declaration form prior to beginning travel on the day of departure. Passengers failing to meet requirements for checking firearms will be denied transportation.

To meet this new legal requirement, Amtrak made changes to its reservation system, installed secure storage at checked baggage train stations and modified 142 baggage cars to improve and secure firearm transport.