By: Richard L. Smith
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) busted an Illinois man who was the second individual arrested by police in two days after officers stopped him with a loaded handgun at one of the security checkpoints yesterday, Thursday.
TSA officials said they stopped an Indiana man with a disassembled gun at one of the checkpoints the previous day.
According to TSA, a 9mm handgun caught on Thursday was loaded with 12 bullets, including one in the chamber.
The man also was in possession of a 9-inch hunting knife. It marked the 13th gun caught at one of the airport checkpoints so far this year, which surpassed the 12 detected last year.
TSA officials said both weapons were detected when the TSA officer who was staffing a checkpoint X-ray monitor spotted them via the checkpoint X-ray machine.
TSA officials alerted Port Authority Police, who confiscated the weapons and arrested him on weapons charges.
“Today marks the start of the busiest travel period of the year, and travelers need to have a keen awareness of the contents of their carry-on bags to ensure that they do not have any prohibited items inside—especially firearms,” said Thomas Carter, TSA Federal Security Director for New Jersey.
“It is a good idea to start with an empty bag when packing because it’s not always easy to remember what you may have placed in your backpack, messenger bag, or handbag two weeks ago.”
As for guns, TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website.
According to TSA officials, 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.