Police Arrest Man After TSA Detects Disassembled Gun Spread Among His Carry-On Bags At Newark Liberty International Airport Checkpoint

November 17, 2022

NEWARK, N.J.— An Indiana man was arrested by police after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers removed the components of a handgun and 15 bullets spread across two of the man’s carry-on bags at a Terminal B security checkpoint at Newark Liberty International Airport on Wednesday, Nov. 16.

It was the 12th gun caught at one of the airport checkpoints so far this year.

The 9mm handgun was detected when the TSA officer who was staffing a checkpoint X-ray monitor spotted the firearm parts inside two of the man’s carry-on bags. When the bags were searched, the components of the firearm were found along with the ammunition. Had the components been assembled, they would have resulted in the use of a working gun. TSA officials alerted Port Authority Police who confiscated the handgun components and arrested the man on weapons charges.

The traveler told officials that he had driven to the area, however his car was stolen, so he was flying home to Indiana and he thought it would be okay to travel with a disassembled gun. However, firearms and firearm parts are prohibited through a security checkpoint.

“The busy Thanksgiving holiday travel period officially gets underway on Friday and our TSA officers are focused on our mission to continue to stop weapons from being carried through our security checkpoints,” said Thomas Carter, TSA Federal Security Director for New Jersey. “It is important for travelers to know what can and cannot be carried through our checkpoints—especially during what is typically the busiest travel period of the year. Any prohibited item, from a firearm to an oversized liquid, that is detected in a carry-on bag slows down the checkpoint screening process for the travelers whose carry-on bags trigger an alarm for a prohibited item. You do not want to be that person.”

Individuals who own firearms “should familiarize themselves with the laws and regulations as it pertains to traveling with their guns,” Carter added. TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website.

Bringing a gun to an airport checkpoint carries a federal civil penalty because 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. Additionally, if a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck®, that individual will lose their TSA PreCheck privileges.

Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and passengers should do their homework to make sure that they are not violating any local firearm laws. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.

Last year TSA officers detected 5,972 guns at security checkpoints nationwide and 86 percent of them were loaded.

TSA firearms catches at Newark Liberty International Airport checkpoints, 2017 to 2022

Year201720182019202020212022(As of 11/16/22)
Guns caught at Newark Liberty International Airport checkpoints 6  14  11 11 12 12