By: Richard L. Smith
An Essex County resident was arrested by police after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Newark Liberty International Airport stopped him with a 9mm handgun in his backpack on Saturday, April 1.
The firearm was loaded with eight hollow-point bullets.
TSA officials said When the TSA officer spotted the gun in the checkpoint X-ray machine in Terminal C, Port Authority Police were alerted, came to the checkpoint and confiscated the weapon from the man before arresting him on weapons charges.
A company employed the man at the airport and his employee badge was confiscated at the time of the incident. He is no longer employed at the airport.
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.
“This was a good catch on the part of our TSA officers, who remain vigilant during this busy spring travel period,” said Thomas Carter, TSA’s Federal Security Director for New Jersey.
“Individuals who work at the airport are subject to the same robust security screening procedures as travelers.
Any time dangerous items are presented in the screening checkpoint, we have serious safety concerns for all in the area. The resolution disrupts the process for the passengers waiting behind the offender.
Saturday was April Fool’s Day, but I can assure you that nobody was laughing when our officers detected a loaded gun. Bringing a firearm to a checkpoint is no joke.”
This 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.
TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns and gun parts with them at a checkpoint.
This applies to individuals 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.
TSA reminds people to always know the contents of their carry-on bag prior to coming to the security checkpoint.
TSA has multiple resources available to help determine whether an item is permitted in carry-on baggage, checked baggage, or either or neither.
Travelers can also tweet to @AskTSA or send a text message (275-872) if they have a travel question or are unsure if an item is allowed through security in a carry-on bag. Just snap a picture or send a question and get real-time assistance.