TSA officers catch Cortland County woman trying to bring firearm past checkpoint at Syracuse-Hancock International Airport

Local Press Release
Tuesday, December 19, 2017

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – A Transportation Security Administration officer at Syracuse-Hancock International Airport (SYR) prevented a Cortland County, New York, woman from bringing a loaded handgun onto an airplane Dec. 17.

The woman, a resident of Homer, New York, was stopped when a TSA officer who was staffing the X-ray monitor spotted the loaded 9 mm handgun in the woman’s carry-on bag. The semi-automatic handgun was loaded with 10 bullets, including one in the chamber.

The Syracuse Police Department was called to the checkpoint, where they confiscated the firearm. Police decided not cite or arrest the woman because she had a valid New York State permit, however the police will notify the issuing authority of the gun violation.

Individuals who show up with weapons at airport checkpoints cause the checkpoint lane to come to a halt until police arrive and handle the situation.

“It is a federal offense to try to bring a gun on an airplane and detecting guns at checkpoints brings to light the critical role that the Transportation Security Administration, and the dedication of the officers assigned to Syracuse Hancock International Airport, demonstrate in protecting the flying public,” said Bart Johnson, TSA Upstate New York federal security director. 

“It is also a stark reminder of the importance that passengers play in making sure that they stop and think about what they have in their carry-on bags to ensure that they do not bring any prohibited items to an airport checkpoint.”

As a reminder, individuals who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to federal civil penalties of up to $13,000. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $3,900. The complete list of penalties is posted online here.

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-side case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality.

TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its web site here. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.