NEWARK, N.J. - A Florida man was arrested on Thursday, May 30, after Transportation Security Administration officers at Newark Liberty International Airport caught him trying to bring a loaded gun past a security checkpoint in Terminal A.
TSA officers caught the 9 mm handgun in the outer pocket of the man’s carry-on bag as it entered the checkpoint X-ray machine. It was loaded with a hollow-pointed bullet in the chamber. The traveler, a resident of Boca Raton, Florida, was arrested by Port Authority Police.
Thursday’s gun catch marks the eighth gun caught at TSA checkpoints at Newark Liberty International Airport so far this year.
Last year, 14 guns were caught at the airport’s checkpoints, which set a record for the most firearms caught at the airport in one calendar year. If travelers continue to bring their guns to the checkpoints at the current rate, it is likely that 2019 will again set a new record for the number of guns that TSA officers catch at Newark. It is a trend that TSA officials would prefer to see go in the opposite direction.
Firearms Caught at Newark Liberty International Airport
2019 (As of 5-30-19)
Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality.
Nationwide last year, 4,239 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging about 11.6 firearms per day, approximately a 7% increase nationally in firearm discoveries from the total of 3,957 detected in 2017. Eighty-six percent of firearms detected at checkpoints last year were loaded and nearly 34% had a bullet in the chamber.
As a reminder, individuals who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement. Even travelers with concealed firearm permits are not allowed to bring guns onto airplanes in their carry-on bags. If an individual is a TSA Pre✓® member, that person could even lose TSA Pre✓® status. In addition, TSA has the authority to assess civil penalties of up to $13,333 for weapons violations. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $3,900. The complete list of penalties is posted online.
TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.