An unidentified man was arrested by police on Thanksgiving Day after he was found with a loaded gun in his carry-on luggage at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.
The man, who was from Delaware County, Pennsylvania, was carrying a 9 mm handgun loaded with 13 bullets, including one in the chamber, according to a news release Friday from the Transportation Security Administration. His name and the charges he faces were not immediately released.
Thomas Carter, TSA federal security director for New Jersey, said the arrest showed the vigilance of TSA officers.
“To be caught and arrested for carrying a loaded gun at our airport means this person had a pretty bad Thanksgiving,” he said in the organization’s press release. “Our TSA officers are on duty this busy holiday weekend so others can reach their destinations safely and spend the holidays with their family and friends. Our team remains vigilant and focused on the mission to help ensure prohibited items are not carried onto a flight.”
In addition to his arrest, the man faces a “stiff federal monetary civil penalty that could run into the thousands of dollars,” Carter said.
While travelers are allowed to fly with firearms, there are strict TSA rules for doing so. They must be unloaded and placed in a secure container in checked baggage. Airlines may also have their own requirements. Firearm possession laws also vary by state and locality. The TSA advises passengers to “do their homework” to avoid fines or other penalties.
The suspect is the third passenger arrested this month at Newark Airport for carrying a gun on “accessible property.” It is the 14th such case at the airport in 2022.
In 2021, TSA officers detected 5,972 weapons at security checkpoints nationwide. About 86% of the weapons were loaded.