NEWARK, N.J. – A Bucks County, Pennsylvania, man found out that Transportation Security Administration officers at Newark Liberty International Airport were not joking this April Fool’s Day when they stopped him from bringing a handgun onto an airplane early this morning because it’s no joke when someone gets arrested.
TSA officers caught the .45-caliber handgun in the man’s carry-on bag as it entered the checkpoint X-ray machine at the C-1 Terminal checkpoint. The traveler, a resident of Riegelsville, Pennsylvania, was arrested by Port Authority Police. The man told officials that he is on a competitive shooting team and he forgot that he had his gun with him.
Monday’s gun catch marks the fourth gun caught at TSA checkpoints at Newark Liberty International Airport 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.
|Firearms Caught||2017||2018||2019 to date|
|Newark Liberty International Airport||6||14||4|
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 firearm and ammunition carriage policies.