NEWARK, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey, man was arrested on Thursday evening, April 4, after Transportation Security Administration officers at Newark Liberty International Airport caught him trying to bring a loaded gun past a security checkpoint in Terminal B.
TSA officers caught the 9 mm handgun in the man’s backpack as it entered the checkpoint X-ray machine. The traveler, a resident of East Orange, New Jersey, was arrested by Port Authority Police. It was the second gun caught by TSA officers at Newark within a four-day span. TSA officers caught a .45-caliber handgun at a Terminal C checkpoint on Monday.
Thursday’s gun catch marks the fifth 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. If travelers continue to bring their guns to the checkpoints at the current rate, it is likely that 2019 will again set a new record for the number of guns caught at Newark. It is a trend that TSA officials would prefer to see go in the opposite direction.
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|
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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.