Amtrak passengers can bring guns aboard starting Dec. 15

Reversing a near decade-long ban, Amtrak will allow passengers to bring guns on most trains starting on Dec. 15, including several that stop in Sacramento.

The change, pushed by gun rights advocates and ordered by Congress, aligns Amtrak's firearms policy with air travel rules that allow unloaded guns to be stored in locked baggage holds.

Federal Homeland Security officials on Monday said they are OK with guns being on trains as long as security protocols are enforced.

"It's deemed safe and appropriate," federal Transportation Security Administration spokesman Nico Melendez said. "If people follow the rules, it's pretty simple."

Under the policy, beginning Dec. 15, guns can be brought aboard trains that have checked baggage service. Gun owners must inform Amtrak officials 24 hours ahead of departure. Unloaded firearms must be packed in hard-sided containers and will be stored in train lockers.

The gun allowance applies to most Amtrak trains, including the San Joaquin service connecting Sacramento to Oakland and the Central Valley. However, the gun ban remains in place on Capitol Corridor trains, which connect Auburn, Sacramento and Davis with the Bay Area, but don't have checked baggage service.

Amtrak officials said the federally funded train system is retrofitting train cars for gun storage, but said they have no idea how many people will travel with firearms.

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