NEWARK, N.J. – Transportation Security Administration officers at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) caught two loaded handguns at the Terminal C checkpoint just hours apart on Monday, February 18, resulting in two arrests.
Monday morning, TSA officers caught a .45-caliber handgun loaded with nine bullets, including one in the chamber, when the gun was spotted in a carry-on bag in the checkpoint X-ray machine. The traveler, a man from Huntington Valley, Pennsylvania, was arrested by Port Authority Police. The incident took place shortly after 8 a.m.
Approximately six hours later, a Fort Pierce, Florida, resident was arrested by Port Authority Police with a loaded handgun after another TSA officer spotted the weapon in the checkpoint X-ray machine. The gun was a .22-caliber weapon located in the man’s carry-on bag.
Both incidents took place in Terminal C at the C1 checkpoint. The incidents are not believed to be related.
Monday’s gun catches mark the first two guns caught at TSA checkpoints at EWR so far this year. Last year, 14 guns were caught at the airport’s checkpoints, which set a record for the most firearms caught at the airport in one calendar year.
Nationwide last year, 4,239 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging about 11.6 firearms per day, approximately a 7 percent increase nationally in firearm discoveries from the total of 3,957 detected in 2017. Eighty-six percent of firearms detected at checkpoints last year were loaded and nearly 34 percent had a bullet in the chamber.
Number of Firearms Caught at Newark Liberty International Airport
|Airport||2017||2018||2019 (As of 2-19-19)|
|Newark Liberty International Airport||6||14||2|
As a reminder, individuals who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement. Even travelers with concealed firearm permits are not allowed to bring guns onto airplanes. In addition, TSA has the authority to assess civil penalties of up to $13,000 for weapons violations. 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 firearms and ammunition carriage policies.
The Transportation Security Administration was created to strengthen the security of the nation’s transportation systems and ensure the freedom of movement for people and commerce. TSA uses a risk-based strategy and works closely with transportation, law enforcement and intelligence communities to set the standard for excellence in transportation security.
For more information about TSA, please visit our website at tsa.gov.