WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – A Connecticut man was arrested by police when Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Westchester County Airport prevented the man from bringing a loaded handgun through the security checkpoint yesterday, Monday, Feb. 13. The .45 caliber gun was loaded with seven bullets.
The gun was detected among the carry-on items that the Southbury, Conn., man had in his possession as he entered the TSA checkpoint. The X-ray unit alerted on the carry-on bag, which required a closer inspection. The firearm was removed by a police officer with the Westchester County Police, who confiscated the gun and arrested the man on weapons charges.
In addition to being arrested, he now faces a stiff financial civil penalty for bringing a gun to a TSA security checkpoint. The penalty for carrying weapons recently increased to a maximum of $15,000.
“The TSA officers at Westchester County Airport perform their jobs exceptionally well and they are very good at detecting prohibited and illegal items that travelers should not have with them,” said Robert Duffy, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “When dangerous items such as loaded guns are brought to a security checkpoint, it represents both a serious security and safety concern. Guns are not permitted in the cabin of a plane—neither loaded or unloaded ones. Now not only was this man arrested, but he also faces a stiff financial civil penalty from TSA that could set him back thousands of dollars.”
This was the first firearm that TSA has detected at the airport so far this year. Last year, TSA officers prevented four firearms from getting through checkpoints at Westchester County Airport. Last year, 6,542 firearms were caught at 262 out of 430 airport security checkpoints nationwide. Eighty-eight percent of those guns were loaded.
Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage. Firearms must be unloaded then packed in a hard-sided locked case. The locked case should be taken to the airline check-in counter to be declared. TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website.
Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and gun owners have a duty to ensure they are not violating any local firearm laws. Additionally, contacting the respective airline could reveal any additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.
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 gun 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 a concealed carry permit does not allow 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.
Unsure if an item should be packed in a carry-on bag, checked bag, either or neither? Download the free myTSA app, which has a handy “What can I bring?” feature that allows you to type in the item to find out if it can fly. Or ask on Twitter or Facebook Messenger at @AskTSA. Travelers may send a question by texting “Travel” to AskTSA (275-872).