SYRACUSE, NY – An Oneida County, New York, woman was caught by Transportation Security Administration officers with a .32 caliber handgun loaded with three bullets in her carry-on bag on Wednesday, December 18, at Syracuse-Hancock International Airport. It marked the third handgun caught by TSA officers at the airport within the past three weeks and the fifth so far this year.
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 Rome, New York, for questioning. No charges were levied by the Syracuse Police since she was in possession of a valid New York State pistol permit.
“This unusual rash of guns being brought to the airport in carry-on bags at Syracuse continues to cause disruptions at the airport,” said Bart R. Johnson, TSA’s Upstate New York Federal Security Director. “There’s a right way to travel with a gun and a wrong way. The wrong way is to bring it to a checkpoint. That carelessness puts others at risk. The proper way is to make sure it’s unloaded, packed in a locked hard sided case and taken to the airline check-in counter.
“The TSA officers are well-trained and good at their jobs and for the third time in three weeks they have stopped this security threat cold in its tracks,” Johnson said. “I would also like to thank the Syracuse Police Department for its swift response to the checkpoint,” he added.
Guns at checkpoints
Syracuse-Hancock International Airport
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.