TSA prevents Pennsylvania man from bringing loaded gun through the checkpoint at Newark Liberty International Airport

Man arrested by police
Local Press Release
Monday, September 18, 2023
This loaded handgun was detected by TSA officers inside a traveler’s backpack at Newark Liberty International Airport on Sept. 16. (TSA photo)

NEWARK, N.J. –  Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Newark Liberty International Airport prevented a traveler from Monroe County, Pa., from bringing a loaded handgun onto his flight on Saturday, Sept. 16. The 9mm handgun was removed from the man’s backpack.

When the TSA officer at Newark spotted the handgun in the checkpoint X-ray machine, Port Authority Police were alerted, came to the Terminal C checkpoint, confiscated the gun and interviewed the traveler, a resident of Canadensis, Pa., before arresting him on a state weapons charge.  

In addition to being arrested, the individual also faces a stiff federal financial civil penalty for bringing a gun to a security checkpoint. The penalty for bringing a weapon to a TSA checkpoint can cost as much as $15,000, depending on the circumstances.

“Travelers need to pay more attention to the items that they have inside their carry-on bags,” said Thomas Carter, TSA’s Federal Security Director for New Jersey. “Our officers have caught more guns in the first nine months of the year than we have ever caught in a full year. We are at a point where each gun that is caught sets a new record. It’s as though there is an epidemic of guns showing up at our checkpoints.

“Our officers are doing a tremendous job staying vigilant while screening travelers,” Carter added. “Carrying prohibited or illegal items to security checkpoints slows down the security lines for everyone. It is vitally important to know that the items you have in your carry-on bag are allowed through our security checkpoints. My best advice is that when you’re ready to pack, start with an empty bag so you know with certainty what you’ve got inside and you know that there is nothing prohibited in a side pocket, zippered pouch or just in the bottom of your bag. That goes for backpacks, roller bags, handbags, messenger bags and duffle bags.”

Nationwide, TSA officers have prevented more than 4,000 guns from getting through security checkpoints so far this year. Last year, 6,542 firearms were caught at 262 out of 430 airport security checkpoints nationwide. Eighty-eight percent of those guns were loaded.

TSA firearms catches at airport checkpoints at Newark Liberty International Airport, 2018 to 2023








(As of 9/17/23)

Guns caught at Newark Liberty International Airport checkpoints







TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns and gun parts with them at a checkpoint. This applies to individuals 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.

TSA reminds people to always know the contents of their carry-on bag prior to coming to the security checkpoint. TSA has multiple resources available to help determine whether an item is permitted in carry-on baggage, checked baggage, either or neither. Travelers can use the “Can I Bring?” feature on the TSA website or on the free downloadable myTSA app. Travelers can also tweet to @AskTSA or send a text message (275-872) if they have a travel question or are unsure if an item is allowed through security in a carry-on bag. Just snap a picture or send a question and get real-time assistance.