TSA seizes guns, crossbows one day before Thanksgiving
(CNN) — Please don’t try to clear airport security at Thanksgiving wearing your loaded firearm.
That’s not allowed, and it could slow down the lines during one of the busiest travel days of the year.
That’s what a 94-year-old Brooklyn man discovered as he tried to pass through passenger screening at New York’s LaGuardia Airport on Wednesday, security officials said.
Transportation Security Administration officers detected the gun attached to the man’s belt at the small of his back he entered the checkpoint body scanner.
Police officers from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International Airports, confiscated the gun. The traveler had a New York City concealed weapons permit, so he was allowed to rebook on a later flight to Palm Beach, a TSA official confirmed.
The TSA screens more than 1.7 million passengers and their luggage every day for prohibited items. Travelers who try to transport weapons illegally are subject to arrest, criminal penalties and civil penalties ranging from $1,500 to $11,000.
One gun wasn’t enough for a Queens, New York, man who was arrested Wednesday at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport after TSA officers found a stash of weapons in two checked bags. The arsenal included two crossbows, three starter pistols, two BB guns, a stun gun, handcuffs and several arrows.
TSA officers detected the weapons in the Queens man’s luggage as it was passing through the checked-baggage screening equipment. It was opened after the equipment alerted TSA officers of suspicious items inside the bags.
Port Authority police arrested the traveler, who was on his way to Dubai, in the terminal on local weapons charges.
The TSA has already seized more firearms this year than in all of 2013. As November 25, TSA officers had already found 1,973 firearms in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, compared to 1,813 firearms for all of 2013.
Travelers can fly with their weapons in checked baggage, but there are TSA rules to follow. There are also state and local weapons laws that vary by jurisdiction.
By Katia Hetter