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Brooklyn resident nabbed with handgun at JFK Airport

September 2, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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A Brooklyn resident was arrested after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers caught him with a .22 caliber handgun at one of the John F. Kennedy International Airport security checkpoints on Wednesday, Sept. 1. The gun was not loaded.

TSA officials alerted the Port Authority Police, who responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the gun, and arrested the man on local weapons charges. In addition to his arrest, the man also faces a stiff federal financial civil penalty for bringing a gun to a security checkpoint.

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared at their airline ticket counter, to be transported in the hold of the plane. Guns are absolutely not permitted to be carried onto planes.

In an earlier incident, TSA officers last December found a 9 mm handgun loaded with seven bullets in another Brooklyn man’s carry-on bag at JFK as the bag was going through the X-ray machine.

After the officers told the man to step aside, he bolted and fled into a taxi. However, police were able to find out his identity because he left behind not only his bag, but a duffel bag, his shoes, his New York State learner’s permit, his passport, his boarding pass and even his shoes, according to news reports at the time.

In general, checked firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition.

Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality, and travelers need to check into firearm laws before they decide to travel with their guns. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.

When an individual shows up at a checkpoint with a firearm, the checkpoint lane comes to a standstill until the police resolve the incident. Guns at checkpoints can delay travelers from getting to their gates.

Terminal 1 at JFK International Airport. Wikimedia photo by Doug Letterman

Civil penalties for bringing a handgun into a checkpoint can stretch into thousands of dollars, depending on mitigating circumstances. If a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck®, that individual will lose their TSA PreCheck privileges.

Nationwide, TSA officers detected 3,257 firearms on passengers or their carry-on bags at checkpoints last year, although the total number of passengers screened at airport checkpoints across the country fell by 500 million compared to 2019 due to the pandemic.

In 2020, TSA caught approximately 10 firearms per million passengers as compared to about 5 firearms per million passengers in 2019. Of the guns caught by TSA in 2020, about 83 percent were loaded.

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