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Law enforcement officers say people bringing guns to the U.S./Canada border is becoming a big issue

Posted at 5:42 AM, Oct 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-21 10:17:08-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — New York State Police Troop T put up a sign on I-190 towards the Peace Bridge, warning drivers, that guns are not allowed at the United States/Canada border without proper paperwork.

It's a warning that's been needed after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers have seen an increase of guns approaching their checkpoints.

"What happens is they're actually entering into another country with a weapon," New York State Police Trooper Jim O'Callaghan said. "It gets confiscated and they get turned around and sent back into the U.S."

Firearms brought to the U.S./Canadian border is becoming a big problem.

"We've seen an increase of seizures at the border," said U.S. Customs and Border Protection Public Affairs Liaison Aaron Bowker.

Most of the seizures however, are actually not from illegally owned firearms.

"[The] majority of these are happening from people that don't live in New York," Bowker said.

These people are legal gun owners, unaware that their legally owned gun from another state, which might not be allowed in New York or Canada.

"If you're coming from another state, you may not be able to lawfully possess that weapon or pistol here in New York," O'Callaghan said.

With proper paperwork, guns can be brought over the border and through New York state; but the main problem seen is that people are unaware their route includes international travel.

This results in people not knowing they need the forms.

From there, if the gun is declared, it is up to the different law enforcement agencies to decide how to proceed.

The increase of firearms is happening at every bridge, and the legal ramifications can vary.
Here's who monitors each bridge:

Peace Bridge

  • Buffalo Police Department

Rainbow Bridge

  • Niagara Falls Police Department

Lewiston-Queenston Bridge

  • New York State Police Department