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TSA: Schuyler County Man Brings Loaded Handgun to Elmira Airport


A local man was stopped by TSA officers at Elmira-Corning Regional Airport on Wednesday after they detected he had a handgun in his carry-on bag at the security checkpoint. The 9mm was loaded with seven bullets, including one in the chamber.

The gun was caught as the man entered the security checkpoint. The TSA officer who was operating the X-ray unit at the checkpoint detected what appeared to be a firearm in the man’s backpack. Police were notified and responded. Upon arrival, police opened the bag for a closer inspection and removed the loaded gun from the top zippered pocket of the backpack.

The traveler, who told officials that he is a firearms instructor, said that he forgot that he had his loaded gun with him. Police allowed him to depart the airport to return the gun to his home because he had a valid New York State pistol permit.

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.

“Once again, it is disappointing that an individual who is a licensed and trained New York State pistol permit holder arrived at the checkpoint with a loaded gun, which introduced a potentially dangerous situation that he brought about himself,” said Bart R. Johnson, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Upstate New York.

“With that said, I appreciate the diligence the officers who detected the firearm at the checkpoint and also recognize the quick response of law enforcement,” he added. “As a result, a deadly weapon was prevented from getting onto an airplane.”

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.

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