SYRACUSE, NY – A Onondaga County, New York, woman was caught by Transportation Security Administration officers with a .380 caliber handgun loaded with six bullets in her carry-on bag today at Syracuse-Hancock International Airport. The incident took place just one week after a Florida man was caught with a loaded gun at the airport.
The TSA officer, who spotted the gun in the checkpoint X-ray machine, contacted the Syracuse Police, who arrived at the checkpoint, confiscated the gun and detained the woman, a resident of Tully, New York, for questioning.
“It is difficult to comprehend that an individual with a New York State pistol permit would come to the checkpoint with a loaded handgun and place the travelling public in danger due to their actions,” said Bart R. Johnson, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Upstate New York. “Appropriate civil actions will be taken against this individual in conformance with current regulations.
“I commend the TSA officers who were involved it stopping this threat for a job well done. I would also like to thank the Syracuse Police Department for its swift response to the checkpoint,” Johnson said.
Nationwide last year, 4,239 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging about 11.6 firearms per day, approximately a 7% increase nationally in firearm discoveries from the total of 3,957 detected in 2017. Eighty-six percent of firearms detected at checkpoints last year were loaded and nearly 34% had a bullet in the chamber.
As a reminder, individuals who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement. Even travelers with concealed firearm permits are not allowed to bring guns onto airplanes in their carry-on bags. In addition, TSA has the authority to assess civil penalties of up to $13,333 for weapons violations. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $4,100. The complete list of penalties is posted online.
TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.