Man arrested when TSA officers remove gun concealed inside sneakers packed in a checked bag at LaGuardia Airport
NEW YORK Nov 2 2023 – A traveler was arrested by police after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at LaGuardia Airport spotted a handgun and loaded gun magazine concealed inside a pair of sneakers packed inside a checked bag on Wednesday, Nov. 1.
When the checked bag passed through the TSA explosives detection unit, it triggered an alarm, alerting TSA officers to open the bag to get a look at what caused the alarm. What the officers found inside the luggage was a pair of white Nike high-top sneakers with green trim and inside was a .45 caliber semi-automatic gun in one shoe and a gun magazine loaded with six bullets in the other.
TSA officials notified the Port Authority Police who tracked down the traveler at his gate and arrested him on weapons charges.
In addition to the arrest, this individual also faces a stiff financial civil penalty. Civil penalties for carrying weapons can reach a maximum of $15,000.
“Attempting to conceal firearms inside shoes in a checked bag doesn’t cut it,” said Robert Duffy, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “If you want to travel with your gun, travelers only need to pack it properly.”
Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are unloaded and packed in a hard-sided locked case. Then the locked case should be taken to the airline check-in counter to be declared. TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website.
Civil penalties for bringing a gun into an airport can stretch into thousands of dollars, depending on mitigating circumstances. The complete list of civil penalties is posted online. Additionally, if a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck®, that individual will lose their TSA PreCheck privileges.
Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and individuals who want to travel with their gun should do their homework to make sure that they are not violating any local firearm laws. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.
Unsure if an item should be packed in a carry-on bag, checked bag, either or neither? Download the free myTSA app, which has a handy “What can I bring?” feature that allows you to type in the item to find out if it can fly. Or ask on Twitter or Facebook Messenger at @AskTSA. Travelers may send a question by texting “Travel” to AskTSA (275-872).