PHILADELPHIA – A Chester County, Pennsylvania, woman was stopped by Transportation Security Administration officers at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) Sept. 1, when they detected a handgun in the woman’s carry-on bag.
The West Chester, Pennsylvania, resident was stopped at the checkpoint with the .38 caliber handgun, which was unloaded. She claimed that she forgot that she had her gun with her. It marked the 23rd gun caught by TSA officers at the airport checkpoints so far this calendar year. In 2017, there were 37 guns caught at the airport’s checkpoints.
TSA contacted the Philadelphia Police Department, which responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the firearm, commonly known as a “.38 Special,” and detained the woman for questioning before citing her on weapons violations. Twenty-three percent of individuals who show up at TSA checkpoints with guns are women.
When an individual shows up at a checkpoint with a firearm, the checkpoint lane comes to a standstill until the police resolve the incident. With the busy travel season in full swing, guns at checkpoints can delay travelers from getting to their gates.
As a reminder, individuals who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement. Even travelers with concealed carry permits are not allowed to bring guns past TSA checkpoints. In addition, TSA has the authority to access civil penalties of up to $13,000. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $3,900. The complete list of penalties is posted online.
TSA’s website has details on how to properly travel with a firearm. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.