NEWARK, N.J. – A Woodford County, Kentucky, man was arrested Wednesday, May 1, after Transportation Security Administration officers at Newark Liberty International Airport caught him trying to bring two loaded handguns past a security checkpoint in Terminal C.
TSA officers detected the guns in the man’s carry-on bag including a .38 caliber revolver loaded with six bullets, including one in the chamber, alongside a loaded .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun loaded with 12 bullets, including one in the chamber.
The traveler, a resident of Versailles, Kentucky, was arrested by Port Authority Police on several weapons charges. It marked the sixth and seventh guns caught by TSA officers at Newark so far this year. Last year TSA officers stopped 14 guns at EWR Airport checkpoints, meaning that already half of the number of guns caught last year have been caught during the first third of 2019.
Last year, when 14 guns were caught at the airport’s checkpoints, it 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 record for the number of guns that TSA officers catch at Newark. It is a disturbing 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% 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% had a bullet in the chamber.
2019 (As of 5-1-19)
Newark Liberty International Airport
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.