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Artful Dodger Can’t Get Assault Rifle Past TSA

Artful Dodger Can’t Get Assault Rifle Past TSA
Joe Cortez

Despite a creative attempt to get past Transportation Security Administration agents at Newark Liberty International Airport, two flyers are facing charges of attempting to sneak a high-power rifle and ammunition in a checked bag. The two New Jersey Residents were caught during a routine sweep of luggage destined for outgoing aircraft.

Two New Jersey flyers are facing charges of illegally smuggling weapons through Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) in their checked luggage, hiding an assault rifle in a rather creative place. A tweet from Transportation Security Administration Lisa Farbstein shows how the passengers attempted to pack an assault rifle, magazines and ammunition onto an aircraft by sewing it all inside the lining of their suitcase.


Bust Yields Gun, Hollow-Point Ammo and Magazines

According to detailed shared by WNBC-TV, the flyers were attempting to travel through Newark with the weapon, and checked it as luggage. The weapon was “artfully concealed” between the wall and lining of their suitcase.

During routine screening of luggage, TSA agents detected the weapon, leading them to start an investigation. Found inside the suitcase was the assault rifle, one high-capacity magazines, four boxes of hollow-point bullets, and three regular magazines. Although the weapon was not loaded, one of the magazines contained bullets.

The flyers, both from the Newark area, were found at their departing gate at Newark Liberty’s Terminal C. They were both taken into custody without further incident.

“Our TSA officers are very skilled at detecting firearms and other prohibited items,” Tom Carter, federal security director for the TSA in New Jersey, told WNBC. “This was an incredibly good catch on the part of our officers because the traveler attempted to evade detection by concealing the items beneath the lining of his suitcase.”

Guns Remain a Problem at Airports Despite COVID-19 Pandemic

With fewer flyers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the TSA has not prepared regular updates on the number of weapons found at their checkpoints. However, flyers carrying guns through TSA checkpoints remains a major problem.

Between Feb. 24 and Apr. 22, 2020, the TSA discovered a total of 317 guns at checkpoints across the United States. Of those, 263 were loaded, and 93 were ready to fire. The TSA says they have found 1.24 guns per 100,000 flyers screened – which is 2.68 times greater than the same period in 2019.

Feature image courtesy: Transportation Security Administration

View Comments (9)


  1. vargha

    July 23, 2020 at 4:34 am

    What is an “assault” rifle? I’m not sure what New Jersey laws are, but that rifle is legal in almost every state in the U.S. And a few boxes of ammo for a rifle is no big deal. Stupid passengers, I guess, but hardly newsworthy.

  2. taina2

    July 23, 2020 at 4:57 am

    Jersy is bad for guns, but all they had to do was declare it in their checked luggage and have ut unloaded and it would have been fine.

  3. Jackie_414

    July 23, 2020 at 6:49 am

    First of all, that is not an assault rifle. An assault rifle is a fully automatic weapon. The gun in the photo is is a long barrel pistol, likely semi-auotmatic which is completely legal.

    Second, AR does not stand for assault rifle. It is the short name for ArmaLite, a company that makes firearms.

    Third, nothing in the photo (if it is real) is illegal. It is illegal to transport them in the cabin of an aircraft or into a locale that prohibits them. Hollow point ammunition is not illegal.

    We look for accuracy in these articles, something that has been wanting for a long time.


  4. KimchiExpress

    July 23, 2020 at 7:12 am

    Not sure about the IQ of these travelers.

    It is legal to carry most firearms in checked baggage as long as you DECLARE it.

    You have to lock the bag and it will have a big sticker FIREARM on the bag.

    The airlines agent will want to confirm that the firearm is not loaded. You can take your ammo with you, though.

    Yes, you can even take an ASSAULT rifle in your checked baggage.

    So either these people are stupid or they didn’t want any trace of them with the firearm – cause they were going to use it for illegal purposes.



  5. tonyv8

    July 23, 2020 at 8:28 am

    Duh! Did these guys not know about X-rays?

  6. darthbimmer

    July 23, 2020 at 9:00 am

    So TSA caught this *one* undeclared firearm. What about the government audit years ago that found they missed 95% of the smuggled firearms in tests? The TSA is Security Theater.

  7. c1ue

    July 24, 2020 at 11:28 am

    A pair of morons. There are literally hundreds of ways to find a firearm: shape, metal, chemical residue etc etc

  8. FEasy

    July 27, 2020 at 1:26 am

    “Of those, 263 were loaded, and 93 were ready to fire.” Would this threaten a plane? Planes are relatively fragile, given their their design focus on leight weight and the fact that they are pressurised.

  9. Boggie Dog

    July 27, 2020 at 12:19 pm

    Firearms can be transported in checked luggage as long as the weapon is declared and a few other rules are followed. In this case the procedures were not followed but shouldn’t TSA be capable of detecting firearms with little to no trouble?

    Big catch? NO!

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