According to TSA police, a New Jersey resident was arrested by police after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers removed a loaded handgun that was hidden behind the lining of her suitcase at a security checkpoint at Newark Liberty International Airport on Saturday, Sept. 3.
The gun, a .38 caliber revolver, was loaded with five bullets. It was the 11th gun caught at one of the airport checkpoints so far this year.
TSA police say the handgun was detected when the TSA officer who was staffing a checkpoint X-ray monitor spotted the weapon inside the woman’s carry-on bag.
When the bag was searched, the gun was found to be artfully concealed behind the lining of her bag. TSA officials alerted Port Authority Police who confiscated the handgun and arrested the woman, a resident of Orange, N.J., on weapons charges.
The woman claimed that she did now know whose gun was in her bag.
“Travelers should not attempt to conceal weapons among their carry-on items when entering a TSA security checkpoint,” said Thomas Carter, TSA’s Federal Security Director for New Jersey.
“This is a fine example of how we use the technology available to us to help ensure that guns are stopped before someone tries to carry one onto their flight. In addition to her arrest, this woman also faces a stiff federal financial civil penalty.”
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.
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.