NEWARK, N.J. — Police arrested two men who tried to get weapons past Transportation Security Administration checkpoints at Newark Liberty International Airport during separate incidents this month, officials said Sunday.
In each instance, TSA officers spotted the handguns inside carry-on bags as they went through a security x-ray machine.
On Friday, a TSA officer in Terminal C stopped a Ridgefield Park man who had a gun tucked into his backpack, authorities said.
“The gun was packed inside of two soft-sided zippered cases within a backpack and initially appeared to be a large belt buckle with a replica gun on it, but upon closer inspection it turned out to be an actual real firearm that could pop out of its decorative metallic oval frame,” the TSA said in a news release. “The man told officials that he forgot that he had his gun with him.”
TSA officers also caught a Pennsylvania man with a handgun in his carry-on bag in Terminal A on June 3, officials said. He also told officers he forgot the weapon was with him.
In both incidents, TSA officers alerted Port Authority Police, who took the guns and arrested the men on weapons charges, according to officials.
“Claiming to forget that you have a gun with you is inexcusable,” said Thomas Carter, the TSA’s federal security director for New Jersey. “If you own a gun you need to know where it is at all times. Each of these individuals now faces a stiff federal financial penalty that could cost them thousands of dollars.”
While plane passengers are allowed to travel with firearms in checked baggage, they must properly package the unloaded weapon and declare it at their airline ticket counter, according to the TSA.
Travelers are not permitted to bring firearms into the main cabin of the plane.