TSA catches Staten Island man with loaded handgun at JFK International Airport

Local Press Release
Tuesday, March 30, 2021
A man was caught with this loaded handgun among his carry-on items at JFK International Airport on March 29. (TSA photo)

NEW YORK – A local man was arrested after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers caught him with a 9mm handgun loaded with 10 bullets at one of the John F. Kennedy International Airport security checkpoints on Monday, March 29. 

TSA officials alerted the Port Authority Police, who responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the gun, which was in the man’s backpack, and arrested him on local weapons charges. In addition to his arrest, the man, a resident of Staten Island, N.Y., also faces a stiff federal financial civil penalty for bringing a gun to a security checkpoint.

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared at their airline ticket counter to be transported in the belly of the plane. Guns are absolutely not permitted to be carried onto planes. Checked firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and travelers should check into firearm laws before they decide to travel with their guns. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.

Firearms caught at the John F. Kennedy International Airport Checkpoint, 2019 to 2021

JFK Airport






Guns caught at the checkpoints






*Significantly fewer travelers due to the pandemic.

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 and gun parts with them at a checkpoint. Civil penalties for bringing a handgun into a checkpoint can stretch into thousands of dollars, depending on 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, TSA officers detected 3,257 firearms on passengers or their carry-on bags at checkpoints last year, although the total number of passengers screened at airport checkpoints across the country fell by 500 million compared to 2019 due to the pandemic. The result was that twice as many firearms per million passengers screened were detected at checkpoints in 2020 compared to 2019. In 2020, TSA caught approximately 10 firearms per million passengers as compared to about five firearms per million passengers in 2019.  Of the guns caught by TSA in 2020, about 83 percent were loaded.