A Pennsylvania woman was arrested by police after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) 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.
Travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality.
- When traveling, comply with the laws concerning possession of firearms as they vary by local, state and international governments.
- If you are traveling internationally with a firearm in checked baggage, please check the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website for information and requirements prior to travel.
- Declare each firearm each time you present it for transport as checked baggage. Ask your airline about limitations or fees that may apply.
- Firearms must be unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container and transported as checked baggage only. Only the passenger should retain the key or combination to the lock unless TSA personnel request the key to open the firearm container to ensure compliance with TSA regulations.
- Firearm parts, including magazines, clips, bolts and firing pins, are prohibited in carry-on baggage, but may be transported in checked baggage.
- Replica firearms, including firearm replicas that are toys, may be transported in checked baggage only.
- Rifle scopes are permitted in carry-on and checked baggage.
(Thinking of traveling with a firearm? Watch this short informative video to learn more! Courtesy of the TSA and YouTube)
- Ammunition is prohibited in carry-on baggage, but may be transported in checked baggage.
- Firearm magazines and ammunition clips, whether loaded or empty, must be securely boxed or included within a hard-sided case containing an unloaded firearm.
- Read the requirements governing the transport of ammunition in checked baggage as defined by 49 CFR 175.10 (a)(8).
- Small arms ammunition, including ammunition not exceeding .75 caliber and shotgun shells of any gauge, may be carried in the same hard-sided case as the firearm.
Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.