CTA rail union chief: If riders are allowed to pack heat, arm train operators, too
By ROSALIND ROSSI Transportation Reporter February 21, 2013 7:48PM
Updated: February 21, 2013 11:23PM
If passengers are allowed to carry guns on CTA rail lines, train operators should pack weapons — and be paid extra for doing so, the head of the union that represents CTA rail workers said Thursday.
Robert Kelly, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308, said he is “totally opposed’’ to any legislation that would allow Illinois residents to carry concealed weapons.
His members don’t want to carry guns, Kelly said, but if the law passes, “[Do] you want a train full of people to carry guns and tell the operator, ‘You’re on your own?”
“You have to make it fair. You’ll have to arm our people,’’ Kelly said.
CTA rail workers should get special training if they have to carry guns and should be paid extra for doing so, Kelly said.
The Illinois House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing on the concealed carry issue at 10 a.m. Friday in Room 600 of the Bilandic Building, 160 N. LaSalle.
A federal appeals court in December tossed out Illinois’ prohibition on carrying concealed weapons and ordered lawmakers to draw up a law by early June on the issue.
CTA President Forrest Claypool said Thursday that allowing guns on CTA buses and trains would be “disastrous.’’ Buses can involve “crowded conditions’’ where gun-carriers could be bumped or jostled, causing a weapon to discharge, he said.
The close and enclosed quarters of a bus or train are clearly different than an open street, said Claypool.
CTA, Metra and Pace have all urged the General Assembly to ban guns on public transit but earlier this week, a National Rifle Association lobbyist told a legislative hearing that transit passengers shouldn’t be prohibited from exercising their Second Amendment rights.