Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Newark Liberty International Airport prevented a traveler from bringing a loaded handgun onto his flight on Friday, June 30, on what was a record-setting day at the airport as travelers were flying out of the area ahead of the Independence Day holiday.
TSA officers screened 2,884,683 travelers across the country on Friday and locally screened 83,041 passengers at Newark Liberty International Airport — both marking the highest checkpoint volume ever both nationwide and at Newark.
When the TSA officer at Newark spotted the handgun in the checkpoint X-ray machine, Port Authority Police were alerted, came to the Terminal B checkpoint, confiscated the gun and interviewed the traveler, a resident of Woodbridge, N.J., before arresting him on a weapons charge. The firearm was loaded with seven bullets.
Friday’s gun catch was the second gun that TSA officers prevented from being carried onto a flight during the week. Officers also detected a firearm on Sunday, July 25 at Newark.
In addition to being arrested, the individual also faces a stiff federal financial civil penalty for bringing a gun to a security checkpoint. The penalty for bringing a weapon to a TSA checkpoint can cost as much as $15,000, depending on the circumstances.
“Summer has been extremely busy and Friday was the busiest day ever in TSA’s 21-year history here at Newark Liberty International Airport with 83,041 travelers screened,” said Thomas Carter, TSA’s Federal Security Director for New Jersey. “Our officers are doing a tremendous job staying vigilant while screening travelers during this peak period. Carrying prohibited or illegal items to security checkpoints slows down the security lines for everyone. If you’re flying this summer, it is vitally important to know that the items you have in your carry-on bag are allowed through our security checkpoints. My best advice is that when you’re ready to pack, start with an empty bag so you know with certainty what you’ve got inside and you know that there is nothing prohibited in a side pocket, zippered pouch or just in the bottom of your bag. That goes for backpacks, roller bags, handbags, messenger bags and duffle bags,” he added.
“I urge travelers to take a few moments before they come to the airport to refresh their familiarity with the proper procedures on how to pack a gun for a flight. Firearms should never be brought to the security checkpoint in carry-on luggage. Responsible gun owners know this.”
The gun catch marked the 12th firearm caught at the airport so far this year with six months remaining in 2023. Nationwide, TSA officers have prevented more than 3,000 guns from getting through security checkpoints this year. Last year, 6,542 firearms were caught at 262 out of 430 airport security checkpoints nationwide. Eighty-eight percent of those guns were loaded.