Hawaii man stopped after TSA catches him with antique gun at Newark-Liberty International Airport security checkpoint

Local Press Release
Monday, August 23, 2021
A man told officials he forgot that he had this antique gun with him at Newark Liberty International Airport on August 21. (TSA photo)

NEWARK, N.J. – A Hawaii resident was stopped with a handgun at a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security checkpoint in Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport on Saturday, August 21.

A TSA officer stopped the man with an unloaded antique gun inside his carry-on bag when the carry-on bag entered a checkpoint X-ray unit. The man told officials that it was his father’s gun and he forgot that it was inside his carry-on bag. Police permitted the man to leave the airport to secure the weapon.

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.

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.

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 Newark-Liberty International Airport Checkpoints, 2019 to 2021*

Newark Airport





2021* (As of 8-22-21)

Guns caught at the checkpoints






*Significantly fewer travelers due to the pandemic.

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.