NEWARK, N.J. – A Bucks County, Pennsylvania, man was arrested at Newark Liberty International Airport on Monday, Dec. 19 after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers detected a loaded handgun in the traveler’s backpack.
TSA officers detected the .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun, among the man’s carry-on items as he entered one of the airport checkpoints. The TSA officer who was staffing the checkpoint X-ray machine detected the handgun. Per protocol, police were notified and the checkpoint lane was closed until the Port Authority Police arrived. Once on the scene, the police confiscated the gun and arrested the man on state weapons charges.
The man, a resident of Morrisville, Pennsylvania, told officials that he did not know that he had a loaded gun with him. The passenger stated that he carried his hunting knapsack with him to the airport and it obviously had a gun in it. TSA officials recommend that travelers not use the same bag that they use for hunting or use at a firing range when coming to the airport as it is too easy to leave ammunition, magazines—and in this case, a gun—in the bag.
As a reminder, weapons, including firearms, firearm parts and ammunition, are not permitted in carry-on bags. Travelers who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to criminal charges from law enforcement and civil penalties from TSA of up to $12,000.
Passengers are responsible for the contents of bags they bring to the security checkpoint, and TSA’s advice to passengers is to look through bags thoroughly before coming to the airport to make sure there are no illegal or prohibited items.
Travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure. TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on TSA.gov. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.