NEW YORK – A man was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) on Monday, September 9, when Transportation Security Administration officers found a gun among his carry-on items at one of the airport checkpoints. The .40 caliber handgun was accompanied by 20 loose bullets. The gun was wrapped in what appeared to be some sort of fiberglass inside a case covered in what appeared to be some sort of tar.
It marked the sixth gun that TSA officers have detected at JFK security checkpoints so far this year –triple the two firearms that were discovered at the airport in 2018.
When the TSA officers spotted the gun, they contacted the Port Authority Police, who arrived at the checkpoint, confiscated the firearm and detained the man, a resident of Barbados, for questioning before arresting him on weapons charges.
Passengers are permitted to travel domestically with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared to the airline. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by country, state and locality.
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.
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 their carry-on bags. If the individual is a TSA Pre✓® member, that person could even lose their TSA Pre✓® status. In addition, TSA has the authority to assess civil penalties of up to $13,333 for weapons violations. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $4,100. The complete list of penalties is posted online.
TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.