The discovery of the 9mm handgun at a security checkpoint X-ray machine in Terminal C on Saturday, Sept. 16 brought the total number of firearm seizures at Newark Liberty International Airport this year to 18, federal officials said.
That's four more than were seized all of last year, they said.
The agents summoned Port Authority police, who took the Canadensis (Monroe County), PA man into custody, the TSA's Lisa Farbstein said.
"We are at a point where each gun that is caught sets a new record," said Thomas Carter, the TSA’s federal security director for New Jersey. "It’s as though there is an epidemic of guns showing up at our checkpoints."
"Carrying prohibited or illegal items to security checkpoints slows down the security lines for everyone," Carter noted.
He urged travelers to "pay more attention to the items that they have inside their carry-on bags."
"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," Carter said.
"That goes for backpacks, roller bags, handbags, messenger bags and duffle bags," he added.
In addition to criminal charges, those caught armed face up to $15,000 in civil penalties.
Claiming you didn’t know the weapon was there doesn’t wash -- it just makes you look irresponsible.
“There is absolutely no excuse for bringing a firearm to one of our checkpoints,” Carter said. "Responsible gun owners know this.”
Makes no difference whether or not you have a concealed carry permit, he said.
You may bring a gun in a checked bag if it's properly packaged and declared at the airline ticket counter, the TSA NJ director said.
Guns must be unloaded, placed in a hard-sided locked case and packed separately from ammunition, he said. The locked case must be taken to the airline check-in counter to be declared.
Small arms ammunition (up to .75 caliber and shotgun shells of any gauge) must be packaged in a box made of fiber (such as cardboard), wood, plastic, or metal specifically designed to carry ammunition. That, too, must be declared.
Travelers cannot use firearm magazines or clips for packing ammunition unless they completely enclose the ammunition. Travelers should check with their airline for ammo quantity limits.
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