ALBANY, N.Y. – A first officer was arrested at Albany International Airport (ALB) Monday, April 17, after Transportation Security Administration officers discovered a loaded .380 caliber handgun in his carry-on bag. The firearm was loaded with six bullets.
It marked the second firearm that TSA officers have detected at ALB within the last four weeks. TSA officers detected a loaded .45 caliber handgun in a passenger’s carry-on bag on March 27. Last year TSA officers at ALB caught two firearms during all of 2016.
TSA officers detected the firearm among the Southwest co-pilot’s carry-on items as he entered the airport checkpoint. As TSA officers were screening carry-on items, the TSA officer who was operating the X-ray machine detected what appeared to be a handgun in a carry-on bag. The TSA officer immediately contacted the Albany County Sheriff’s Deputy who was assigned to the checkpoint, who responded, confiscated the firearm and arrested the pilot on a weapons charge. The flight, bound for Chicago-Midway Airport, was delayed for approximately four hours.
“This incident highlights the importance of what TSA and its dedicated security officers do each and every day in protecting the flying public,” said TSA’s Upstate New York Federal Security Director Bart R. Johnson. “I am grateful to the support that the Albany County Sheriff’s Office provides to TSA on a daily basis.”
“The security of Albany International Airport is one of my top priorities for the sheriff’s office and this incident highlights the importance of the work we do there,” said Albany County Sheriff Craig D. Apple, Sr.
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.
Individuals are responsible for the contents of bags they bring to the security checkpoint, and TSA’s advice is to look through bags thoroughly before coming to the airport to make sure there are no illegal or prohibited items. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure and they should ensure that they have the proper firearm permit for the state in which they are traveling.
TSA’s website has details on how to properly travel with a firearm. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.