Man arrested by police after TSA intercepts loaded pistol at Newark Liberty International Airport

Local Press Release
Tuesday, May 7, 2024
This loaded handgun was detected by TSA officers inside a traveler’s backpack at Newark Liberty International Airport on May 6. (TSA photo)

NEWARK, N.J. –  A Florida man was arrested by police after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Newark Liberty International Airport intercepted a loaded pistol among the traveler’s carry-on bag on Monday, May 6. The .38 caliber revolver was loaded with four bullets.   

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 arrested the man on a state weapons charge.

The man claimed that he did not realize that he was traveling with his loaded gun in his carry-on bag.

This loaded handgun was detected by TSA officers inside a traveler’s backpack at Newark Liberty International Airport on May 6. (TSA photo)

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.

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.

“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. “Travelers area responsible for the contents of their carry-on bags. In addition, responsible gun owners know where their firearms are at all times and they know not to bring them to a security checkpoint. I commend our officers on their good catch in preventing an individual from boarding a plane with a loaded gun.”

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









(As of 5/6/24)

Guns caught at Newark Liberty International Airport checkpoints








Guns can be transported on a flight if they are unloaded, packed in a locked, hard-sided case and declared to the airline. The airline will be sure that the gun travels with checked baggage in the belly of the plane, never in the cabin of the plane. Additionally, replica firearms also are prohibited in carry-on baggage and also must be transported in checked luggage.

“Prior to traveling, individuals who want to transport their firearm should do some homework and check gun regulations at their destination to ensure they are in compliance with all local and state laws,” Carter added.

Nationwide, TSA officers have prevented more than 5,000 guns from getting through security checkpoints so far this year. Last year, 6,542 firearms were caught at checkpoints nationwide and the agency is on track to break that record. Newark is part of that disturbing trend.

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.