ALBANY, NY – A Troy, New York, man was caught bringing a loaded handgun to the checkpoint at Albany International Airport on Sunday, December 8. Transportation Security Administration officers caught the man with a 9 mm handgun loaded with seven bullets, including one in the chamber.
TSA officers, who spotted the gun in the checkpoint X-ray machine, contacted the police, who arrived at the checkpoint, confiscated the gun and detained the man for questioning.
“It is absolutely inexcusable to bring a loaded handgun to an airport checkpoint, which puts the travelling public in danger,” said Bart R. Johnson, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Upstate New York. “The proper way to travel with a firearm is to make sure it is unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case and taken to the airline check-in counter for safe transport in the belly of the aircraft. This incident is being referred for civil enforcement, which means the man can expect a hefty civil fine from TSA for his violation of Federal rules and regulations.”
Sunday’s gun catch marked the first gun caught at Albany International Airport this year.
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% 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.