JAMAICA, N.Y. – A Queens, New York, man got off to a bad start this new year when he was caught trying to carry a loaded gun past the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint at John F. Kennedy International Airport Jan. 5, the first gun caught at a New York airport so far this new year.
TSA officers detected the gun as the man, a resident of the Laurelton neighborhood in Queens, entered the TSA checkpoint and placed his carry-on items on the X-ray conveyor belt. TSA officers spotted the .38 caliber gun loaded with six bullets, including one in the chamber, and immediately contacted the Port Authority Police who responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the gun and arrested the man on weapons charges.
Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and localities. New York City has some of the strictest firearm laws in the nation, and firearm owners are urged to check with the city to make sure that they are not violating any laws prior to arriving at the airport.
As a reminder, individuals who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement. In addition, TSA has the authority to access civil penalties of up to $13,000. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $3,900. The complete list of penalties is posted online.
TSA’s website has details on how to properly travel with a firearm. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.