TSA officers prevent man from bringing a gun onto flight at Westchester County Airport

Traveler arrested by police
Local Press Release
Tuesday, April 4, 2023
This handgun and ammunition were detected by TSA officers at the Westchester County Airport security checkpoint on April 2. (TSA photo)

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Westchester County Airport prevented a Florida man from bringing his loaded handgun onto his flight on Sunday, April 2.  The man’s 9mm handgun was loaded with 10 bullets including one in the chamber. He also had two additional gun magazines loaded with 20 more bullets packed alongside the firearm.

The gun was caught as the man entered the security checkpoint. The X-ray unit alerted the TSA officer to inspect the contents of the carry-on bag. The firearm was removed by the local police who confiscated the gun and ammunition and arrested the man on a weapons charge.

The man now faces a stiff financial civil penalty for bringing a gun to a TSA security checkpoint. The penalty for carrying weapons can reach a maximum of $15,000.

It marked the third gun that TSA officers have detected at the airport security checkpoint so far this year.

“Guns are not permitted through any airport security checkpoint,” said Robert Duffy, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “Guns are not permitted to be carried past a TSA security checkpoint. Hopefully this will be a strong reminder to others not to bring their guns to our checkpoints. This individual now faces a stiff Federal financial penalty that could cost him thousands of dollars. Additionally, it is important to remember that a concealed carry permit or enrollment in the TSA PreCheck® program are not exemptions from this policy.”

Passengers are only permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage.  Firearms must be unloaded then packed in a hard-sided locked case. The locked case must 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.

Last year, 6,542 firearms were caught at 262 out of 430 airport security checkpoints nationwide. Eighty-eight percent of those guns were loaded.

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).