Essex County, NJ, man caught with a loaded handgun at Newark Liberty International Airport

Local Press Release
Friday, October 9, 2020
TSA offices detected this loaded gun in a man’s carry-on bag at Newark Liberty International Airport on Friday, Oct. 9. (TSA photo)

NEWARK, N.J. – Transportation Security Administration officers caught an Essex County, New Jersey, man with a 9 mm handgun loaded with 15 bullets at an airport checkpoint on Friday morning, Oct. 9. 

TSA officers caught the handgun as it entered the checkpoint X-ray machine. It was the 10th gun caught at one of the airport checkpoints, one shy of the 11 caught during 2019.

“It is incredibly disappointing to continue to see so many people bringing their guns to the airport,” said Thomas Carter, TSA’s Federal Security Director for New Jersey. “Since the pandemic hit several months ago, the number of passengers flying out of Newark has ranged in the neighborhood of 70 to 85 percent fewer than last year. Coupled with the fact that we still have approximately three months left in this year, and it is a sad statement about people trying to bring their guns onto airplanes.

“Guns are not permitted in the cabin of aircraft,” Carter said. “This is nothing new. It’s a regulation that has been in place long before TSA even existed.”

Firearms Caught at Newark Liberty International Airport checkpoints 2016 to 2020





2020 (as of 10-9-20)






When an individual shows up at a checkpoint with a firearm, the checkpoint lane comes to a standstill until the police resolve the incident. Guns at checkpoints can delay travelers from getting to their gates.

TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns with them at a checkpoint. A typical first offense for carrying a loaded handgun into a checkpoint is $4,100 and can go as high as $13,669 depending on any mitigating circumstances. This applies to travelers with or without concealed gun carry permits because even though an individual may have a concealed carry permit, it does not allow for a firearm to be carried onto an airplane. The complete list of civil penalties is posted online. If a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck™, that individual will lose their TSA PreCheck™ privileges.

Nationwide last year, 4,432 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging about 12.1 firearms per day, approximately a 5% increase nationally in firearm discoveries from the total of 4,239 detected in 2018. Eighty-seven percent of firearms detected at checkpoints last year were loaded.

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.