The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has charged a man from Monroe County after a loaded handgun was discovered in his backpack at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey over the weekend. The TSA did not disclose the man’s name. The 9mm handgun was detected by a TSA officer during the X-ray screening process.
Port Authority Police were immediately notified and confiscated the gun. The traveler was interviewed and subsequently arrested on a state weapons charge. Additionally, the man may face a federal financial civil penalty for attempting to bring a gun through a security checkpoint, with penalties potentially reaching up to $15,000 depending on the circumstances.
Thomas Carter, TSA’s Federal Security Director for New Jersey, emphasized the need for travelers to be more attentive to the contents of their carry-on bags. He noted that TSA officers have already uncovered more guns in the first nine months of this year than in a full year previously. This rise in gun confiscations at security checkpoints can be seen as an alarming trend.
Carter commended the TSA officers for their vigilance, but warned that bringing prohibited or illegal items to security checkpoints not only endangers public safety but also slows down security lines for everyone. He offered advice to travelers, suggesting they begin packing with an empty bag to ensure compliance with TSA regulations. Carter stressed the importance of knowing the contents of carry-on bags and avoiding items that are prohibited.
Nationwide, the TSA has thwarted over 4,000 gun smuggling attempts through security checkpoints during the first three quarters of this year. In 2019, a total of 6,542 firearms were caught at airport security checkpoints throughout the country.
Source: TSA News Release