“Man claimed he forgot he had a loaded gun with him.”
A Las Vegas resident was arrested by police after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers prevented him from carrying a loaded handgun onto his flight on Thursday, March 17, at Newark Liberty International Airport.
The handgun was spotted when the TSA officer who was staffing a checkpoint X-ray monitor in Terminal A spotted the weapon inside the man’s backpack.
TSA then alerted Port Authority Police who confiscated the handgun and arrested the man on weapons charges.
The man told officials that he had driven from his home in Las Vegas to Connecticut and brought his handgun with him in his backpack for the drive. He said he planned to fly back home, but forgot that he had his loaded gun with him.
“If you own a firearm, you really need to be aware of where it is at all times,” said Thomas Carter, TSA’s Federal Security Director for New Jersey.
“That’s simply part of being a responsible gun owner. Not only has he been arrested, but he also faces a stiff federal financial penalty. It was a very expensive mistake to make.”
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.