Police arrest Pennsylvania man after TSA catches him with loaded handgun at Newark Liberty International Airport checkpoint

Local Press Release
Thursday, March 24, 2022
TSA officers prevented a traveler from bringing this loaded handgun onto his flight at Newark Liberty International Airport. (TSA photo)

NEWARK, N.J.— A Williamsport, Pa., man was arrested by police after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers prevented him from carrying a loaded handgun onto his flight on Wednesday, March 23, at Newark Liberty International Airport. It was the second gun caught at one of the airport checkpoints within the last week.

The handgun was spotted when the TSA officer who was staffing a checkpoint X-ray monitor in Terminal C spotted the weapon inside the man’s carry-on bag. TSA then alerted Port Authority Police who confiscated the handgun and arrested the man on weapons charges.

The man claimed that he put the gun inside his roller bag to hide it from his young nephew.

“If you want to prevent a child from playing with a loaded gun, the smart way to do it is to unload it and lock it up so that the youngster can’t get to it,” said Thomas Carter, TSA’s Federal Security Director for New Jersey. “That’s simply part of being a responsible gun owner. You don’t toss it into a roller bag that you plan to take to the airport.”

“It’s only March and already our officers have stopped six handguns from being carried onto flights,” Carter added. “That’s already half as many as the 12 we caught during all of 2021.”

TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website.

Bringing a gun to an airport checkpoint carries a federal civil penalty because 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. Additionally, if a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck®, that individual will lose their TSA PreCheck privileges.

Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and passengers should do their homework to make sure that they are not violating any local firearm laws. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.

Last year TSA officers detected 5,972 guns at security checkpoints nationwide and 86 percent of them were loaded.

TSA firearms catches at Newark Liberty International Airport checkpoints, 2017 to 2022








(As of 3/23/22)

Guns caught at Newark Liberty International Airport checkpoints