NEWARK, N.J.— A Georgia resident got off to a bad start this holiday weekend when he was arrested by police after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers prevented him from carrying a loaded handgun onto his flight this morning, Friday, July 1, at Newark Liberty International Airport. It was the 10th gun caught at one of the airport checkpoints so far this year.
The handgun was detected when the TSA officer who was staffing a checkpoint X-ray monitor in Terminal B spotted the weapon inside the man’s carry-on bag. TSA officials then alerted Port Authority Police who confiscated the handgun and arrested the man on weapons charges.
The man told officials that he forgot that he had his loaded gun with him when he entered the security checkpoint.
“This is lining up to be what is likely the busiest travel weekend since the start of the pandemic and it’s no time to be bringing a deadly weapon such as a loaded handgun to a security checkpoint,” said Thomas Carter, TSA’s Federal Security Director for New Jersey. “Not only is it illegal to carry a gun through a security checkpoint, but it is also disruptive to the security operation. It delays the travelers in line when a gun is detected. You can’t just toss a loaded into a carry-on bag and then head to the airport. This individual now faces a stiff federal financial civil penalty.”
TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website.
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 handgun 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.
Last year TSA officers detected 5,972 guns at security checkpoints nationwide and 86 percent of them were loaded.
TSA firearms catches at Newark Liberty International Airport checkpoints, 2017 to 2022
(As of 7/1/22)
Guns caught at Newark Liberty International Airport checkpoints
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