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Sodus Man Found With Handgun at Rochester Airport


A Wayne County man was stopped by security officers at Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport Thursday when they detected a handgun in the man’s carry-on bag at the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) security checkpoint. The .380 caliber gun was loaded with six bullets, including one in the chamber.

The gun was caught as the man entered the security checkpoint. An alert security officer was operating the X-ray unit at the checkpoint when they detected what appeared to be a firearm. A Monroe County Sheriff’s deputy responded and opened the bag for a closer inspection and a loaded firearm was discovered. The traveler, a resident of Sodus who was not identified, told officials that he forgot that he had his loaded gun with him. The traveler had a valid state pistol permit, although the gun was confiscated by the Sheriff’s Department.

Guns are not permitted through the security checkpoint and now the man faces a stiff financial civil penalty from TSA. The penalty for carrying weapons can reach a maximum of $15,000.

“Summer travel season is here,” said Bart R. Johnson, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “Our officers are good at their jobs and are staying vigilant to keep all travelers safe and secure. Airports are congested, people are eager to travel this summer and it is no time to be carrying prohibited or illegal items in your carry-on bag. Gun owners have a responsibility to know where their firearms are at all times and know that they should not be in a carry-on bag,” Johnson added.

Photo: TSA (provided)

“It is concerning that most people who are stopped at TSA checkpoints with a firearm tell us that they forgot that they had it with them. Forgetting you have a loaded gun with you is inexcusable. Travelers need to come to the airport prepared to go through the security screening process and that means knowing the contents of their carry-on bags and knowing that there are no prohibited items inside,” Johnson said.

Passengers are only permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage. Firearms must be unloaded and then packed in a hard-sided locked case. The locked case should be taken to the airline check-in counter to be declared. TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website.

Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and gun owners have a duty to ensure they are not violating any local firearm laws. Additionally, contacting the respective airline could reveal any additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.

Bringing a gun to an airport checkpoint carries a federal civil penalty because TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns and gun parts with them at a checkpoint. Civil penalties for bringing a gun into a checkpoint can stretch into thousands of dollars, depending on mitigating circumstances. This applies to travelers with or without concealed gun carry permits because a concealed carry permit does not allow a firearm to be carried onto an airplane. The complete list of civil penalties is posted online. Additionally, if a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck®, that individual will lose their TSA PreCheck privileges.

Last year, 6,542 firearms were caught at 262 out of 430 airport security checkpoints nationwide. Eighty-eight percent of those guns were loaded.

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