TSA warns of 'alarmingly large volume' of guns, ammo seized at Newark Airport

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Thursday, June 30, 2022
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NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- Concern over what it calls "an alarmingly large volume of ammunition and guns" showing up at Newark Liberty International Airport's security checkpoints prompted the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to hold a special news conference Wednesday, ahead of the busy July Fourth holiday travel weekend.

From handguns to hunting rifles all confiscated from airline passengers trying to go through security checkpoints.

Most of the busted passengers say it was a mistake, but the TSA says there are no excuses.

"Bottom-line up-front here, guns and ammunition are never allowed to be carried through a security checkpoint," New Jersey TSA Federal Security Director Thomas Carter said.

The briefing, conducted jointly with Port Authority Police, showcased the surprisingly wide variety of weapons that TSA agents have prevented from being carried onto flights in recent months.

"Eighty percent of the firearms we detect are loaded when they are found in that carry on bag," Carter said. "Twenty-five percent of those have a round in the chamber."

Officials also walked through an overview of what happens when a traveler brings a gun to a security checkpoint.

When an unchecked firearm is found it forces TSA to shutdown the security line and delays all passengers trying to make their flights.

Fines could cost gun owners up to $10,000.

Passengers are only allowed to transport firearms in checked bags after declaring the weapon and packing it according to protocol.

Loaded weapons are not allowed.

"The cooperation and coordination between the TSA and port authority police is the gold standard in aviation security," Port Authority Police Assistant Chief Steven Rotolo said.

In 2020, TSA agents found 3,257 firearms on passengers or in carry-on luggage nationwide, and about 83% of those guns were loaded.

Last November, a Florida man was arrested at the airport after a TSA agent found a handgun in his carry-on bag.

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