Photo Courtesy of TSA
A passenger at LaGuardia Airport was recently stopped after a loaded .380-caliber handgun was detected in his carry-on luggage.
By Michael V. Cusenza
A Kentucky man last Wednesday became the first passenger caught by the Transportation Security Administration with a firearm at a LaGuardia Airport checkpoint this year, a TSA spokesperson announced Thursday.
The man, who flew to the New York metropolitan area in a private jet, was stopped with a .380-caliber handgun loaded with seven bullets in his carry-on bag at a security checkpoint. TSA officers caught the handgun as it entered the checkpoint X-ray machine.
Port Authority Police were contacted, confiscated the gun, and detained the man for questioning. He told law enforcement officials that he forgot that he had his loaded gun with him.
TSA officials noted that federal security staff spotted seven guns among passenger possessions at LGA in 2019, compared to the two firearms uncovered in ’18 by agents assigned to the East Elmhurst airport.
According to TSA, nationwide last year, 4,432 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging about 12.1 firearms per day, approximately a 5-percent increase nationally in firearm discoveries from the total of 4,239 detected in 2018. Eighty-seven percent of firearms detected at checkpoints last year were loaded.
The TSA spokesperson noted that 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-sided case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality.