NEWARK, NJ – A Chester County, Pennsylvania, man was arrested at Newark Liberty International Airport today Nov. 30 after a Transportation Security Administration officer detected a loaded semi-automatic handgun in the traveler’s carry-on bag.
A TSA officer who was staffing the checkpoint X-ray machine detected the 9 mm semi-automatic handgun inside the man’s backpack. It was loaded with eight bullets. The Landenberg, Penn., resident told TSA officials he forgot that he had his loaded gun in his knapsack.
TSA officers immediately contacted the Port Authority Police Department, which responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the gun and arrested the man on state weapons charges.
As a reminder, weapons—including firearms, firearm parts and ammunition—are not permitted in carry-on bags. Travelers who bring weapons to the checkpoint are subject to criminal charges from law enforcement and civil penalties from TSA of up to $12,000. A typical first offense for bringing a gun to a checkpoint is a $3,000 penalty.
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.
Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure and they should ensure that they have the proper firearm permit for the state in which they are traveling.
TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its web site here: http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/firearms-and-ammunition. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.