A Central Pennsylvania man found himself in handcuffs and headed to jail after he was caught with a loaded gun in the pocket of his vest by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at John F. Kennedy International Airport this morning (April 16).
The TSA officer who was staffing the checkpoint X-ray machine spotted the handgun in the man’s pocket as it passed along the conveyor belt. The man, a resident of Annville, PA, also had a cat eye-knuckles martial arts weapon with him, which also showed up on the TSA X-ray image.
The man removed his vest and placed it in a bin to pass through the checkpoint, and that’s where the TSA officer spotted the .32 caliber handgun, which was loaded with five rounds.
TSA contacted the Port Authority police who responded, confiscated the loaded firearm and the cat eyes and arrested the Lebanon County, PA, resident on a state weapons charge. He was originally ticketed to fly to Los Angeles.
As a reminder, weapons—including firearms, firearm parts and ammunition—are not permitted in carry-on bags, but can be transported in checked bags if they are unloaded, properly packed and declared to the airline. Passengers who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement and civil penalties from TSA up to $11,000.
Passengers are responsible for the contents of bags they bring to the security checkpoint, and TSA’s advice to passengers is to look through bags thoroughly before coming to the airport to make sure there are no illegal or prohibited items.
Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-side case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. Travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure.
TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website here: http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/firearms-and-ammunition. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact the airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.