BUFFALO, N.Y. – A Pennsylvania woman was arrested by police after Transportation Security Administration officers stopped her from bringing a loaded semi-automatic handgun onto an airplane at Buffalo-Niagara International Airport on Wednesday (Feb. 21).
The Erie, Pennsylvania, resident was caught with a 9 mm handgun in one of her carry-on bags. It was loaded with six bullets.
When the TSA officer spotted the gun in the checkpoint x-ray machine, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Police were contacted, responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the firearm and arrested the woman on local weapons charges. There was no impact to airport operations.
“The bringing of a loaded firearm to the airport checkpoint is both dangerous and illegal,” TSA’s Upstate New York Federal Security Director Bart R. Johnson said. “Incidents such as these provide a stark reminder of the critical role the Transportation Security Administration plays in the protection of the flying public. I would like to thank the prompt response of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Police for their swift action.”
Wednesday’s gun catch was the first gun caught at the airport so far this calendar year. In 2017, TSA officers detected three firearms in carry-on bags at the airport.
“We want to remind individuals who bring firearms to the checkpoint that they are subject to possible criminal charges,” NFTA Police Chief George Gast said. In addition, TSA has the authority to assess 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 on TSA.gov. TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on online. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.