BUFFALO, N.Y. – A Rochester, New York, woman was stopped by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport (BUF) checkpoint on Wednesday when they spotted her with a loaded gun.
The woman was not ticketed for a flight, rather she received a “gate pass” from the airline to allow her to escort her grandchildren to their gate to fly out of Buffalo. As the group began the checkpoint screening process, a TSA officer spotted the .22 caliber handgun in the woman’s purse via the checkpoint X-ray machine. The gun was loaded with nine bullets, including one in the chamber.
The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Police were contacted, responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the firearm and cited the woman on local weapons charges. There was no impact to airport operations.
“Carrying a loaded handgun to an airport checkpoint is unacceptable, and should not happen,” said Bart Johnson, TSA Federal Security Director for Upstate New York. “This incident once again highlights the importance of what TSA officers do every day in the protection of the travelling public.”
As a reminder, firearms, firearm parts and ammunition, are not permitted in carry-on bags, but can be transported in checked bags if they are unloaded, properly packed and declared to the airline. Individuals who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement and civil penalties from TSA of up to $12,000.
TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on TSA.gov. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.