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TSA prevents Oneida County man from bringing loaded gun onto flight at Syracuse Hancock International Airport

Jun 26, 2023

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – An Oneida County, N.Y., man was prevented from bringing his loaded handgun onto his flight yesterday (Aug. 15) when Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Syracuse Hancock International Airport detected a loaded handgun in the man’s carry-on bag. The .380 caliber handgun was loaded with seven bullets, including one in the chamber.

When the TSA officer spotted the handgun in the checkpoint X-ray machine the machine the Syracuse Regional Airport Authority Police were immediately notified and they responded to the checkpoint and confiscated the weapon. The man, a resident of Clinton, N.Y., had a state gun permit, however he now faces a stiff federal financial civil penalty. Federal penalties for bringing weapons to the checkpoint can run as high as $15,000, depending on the circumstances.

“If you own a firearm, it is your responsibility to properly pack and declare it,” said Bart R. Johnson, TSA’s Federal Security Director for airports in Upstate New York. “Not knowing where a loaded firearm is at all times is reckless and it places everyone at the airport in danger.”

Johnson added, “I would like to acknowledge the alertness of the TSA officers in detecting the firearm and I am also thankful for the immediate onsite response of the Syracuse Regional Airport Authority Police.”

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms only in checked baggage if they are unloaded and packed in a hard-sided locked case. Then 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.

Firearms are not permitted through a security checkpoint because passengers should not have access to a firearm during a flight. This even applies to travelers with concealed carry permits or are enrolled in the TSA PreCheck® program, who will lose their TSA PreCheck privileges if they bring a gun to a checkpoint. Individuals who bring their gun to a security checkpoint also face a federal financial civil penalty.

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

TSA firearms catches at the checkpoint at Syracuse Hancock International Airport, 2021 to 2023





(as of 8/15/23)

Guns caught at SYR Airport checkpoint




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 even though an individual may have a concealed carry permit, it does not allow for 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.

Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and passengers should do their homework to make sure that they are not violating any local firearm laws. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.

Unsure if an item should be packed in a carry-on bag, checked bag, either or neither? Download the free myTSA app, which has a handy “What can I bring?” feature that allows you to type in the item to find out if it can fly. Or ask on Twitter or Facebook Messenger at @AskTSA. Travelers may send a question by texting “Travel” to AskTSA (275-872).

TSA firearms catches at the checkpoint at Syracuse Hancock International Airport, 2021 to 2023Year202120222023(as of 8/15/23)