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Airport employees to carry firearms

LAKE CLEAR - Some Harrietstown employees will be armed and dangerous in the weeks to come as the town has amended its local law to allow for trained staff to carry firearms on public property.

Last week, the Harrietstown Board unanimously passed the measure that will allow trained staff to carry weapons at the town-owned Adirondack Regional Airport.

According to Airport Manager Ross Dubarry, a recent inspection of the facility by the Federal Aviation Administration found that pilots could be at risk of striking wildlife on or around the runway and taxiway.

Dewberry said that no incidents between wildlife and aircraft have occurred in the last several years, but the presence of deer and crows on the strip caught the FAA inspector's eye. If wildlife is present on the runway, airport staff will first attempt to drive the animal off with noise-makers, but if that doesn't work more drastic measures are now permissible.

"We would have to take deadly force," Dewberry said.

According to the FAA, the number of animal strikes has consistently increased in New York over the last 20 years.

In 1991, 2,637 animal strikes occurred statewide. Many of those occurred on the runway itself.

By 2008, the number of strikes had spiked to 8,842 and 11 people have died and 93 have been injured in aircraft-animal collisions since 1990.

Prior to the town board amendment, no firearms were permitted on town-owned property.

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