A TSA officer stopped the Plainfield, New Jersey, man with a 9mm gun and gun magazine loaded with 17 bullets, inside his carry-on bag.
June 29, 2021
EWING TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–A Union County, New Jersey, resident was arrested by police after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers caught him with a handgun at the security checkpoint at Trenton-Mercer Airport on Monday, June 28.
A TSA officer stopped the Plainfield, New Jersey, man with a 9mm gun and gun magazine loaded with 17 bullets, inside his carry-on bag. In addition to his arrest, the man also faces a stiff federal financial civil penalty.
It was the second handgun caught at a New Jersey airport within a week. TSA officers at Newark-Liberty International Airport caught a Pennsylvania man with a loaded gun on June 23 at one of the airport checkpoints.
A TSA officer spotted the handgun when the carry-on bag entered a checkpoint X-ray unit. A Mercer County Sheriff’s deputy was alerted, confiscated the weapon and arrested the man on weapons charges.
“Trying to bring a gun onto a flight in a carry-on bag is not how to safely transport a firearm,” said Thomas Carter, TSA’s Federal Security Director for New Jersey. “The right way to transport a firearm for a flight is to make sure it is unloaded, packed in a locked hard-sided case and declared at your airline check-in counter. The airline will make sure that the gun case is placed in the belly of the aircraft where nobody has access to it during a flight. It’s a fairly simple process.”
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 handgun 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 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.
When an individual shows up at a checkpoint with a firearm, the checkpoint lane comes to a standstill until the police resolve the incident. Guns at checkpoints can delay travelers from getting to their gates.
Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared at their airline ticket counter to be transported in the belly of the plane. Guns are absolutely not permitted to be carried onto planes. Checked firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and travelers should check into firearm laws before they decide to travel with their guns. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.
Nationwide, TSA officers detected 3,257 firearms on passengers or their carry-on bags at checkpoints last year, although the total number of passengers screened at airport checkpoints across the country fell by 500 million compared to 2019 due to the pandemic. The result was that twice as many firearms per million passengers screened were detected at checkpoints in 2020 compared to 2019. In 2020, TSA caught approximately 10 firearms per million passengers as compared to about five firearms per million passengers in 2019. Of the guns caught by TSA in 2020, about 83 percent were loaded.