Florida man arrested by police after TSA catches him with loaded gun at Newark-Liberty International Airport security checkpoint

November 29, 2021

NEWARK, N.J. – A Florida resident was arrested by the police after he was stopped with his handgun at a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security checkpoint at Newark Liberty International Airport on Friday, Nov. 26. 

A TSA officer stopped the man with his gun among his carry-on items as they entered a checkpoint X-ray unit. The man told officials that he meant to declare the gun with his airline so that it would be transported with checked baggage, but that he forgot to do so. The gun was unloaded and packed in a hard-sided case with a box containing 35 bullets, which would be how firearms should be packaged and then declared to the airline.

Instead, when TSA officers spotted the gun, they alerted Port Authority Police, who responded to the checkpoint and arrested the man.

Firearms caught at the Newark-Liberty International Airport Checkpoints, 2019 to 2021*

Newark Airport2017201820192020*2021*(As of 11-28-21)
Guns caught at the checkpoints614111113

*Significantly fewer travelers due to the pandemic.

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.