TSA officers stop Lehigh Valley man with loaded handgun at Philadelphia International Airport checkpoint

Local Press Release
Tuesday, April 23, 2019

PHILADELPHIA – A Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, resident was stopped by Transportation Security Administration officers at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) yesterday, April 22, when they detected a handgun in the man’s carry-on bag.

The man, a resident of Allentown, Pennsylvania, was stopped at the checkpoint with the 9 mm handgun, which was loaded with 10 bullets.

TSA contacted the Philadelphia Police Department, which responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the firearm and detained the man for questioning before citing him on weapons violations. It marked the fifth gun caught by TSA officers at one of the airport checkpoints so far this calendar year.  

Last year TSA officers detected 25 firearms at the Philadelphia airport’s checkpoints. Nationwide last year, 4,239 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging about 11.6 firearms per day, approximately a 7% increase nationally in firearm discoveries from the total of 3,957 detected in 2017. Eighty-six percent of firearms detected at checkpoints last year were loaded and nearly 34% had a bullet in the chamber.


Guns caught in 2018

Guns caught in 2019

(As of April 22, 2019)

Philadelphia International




When an individual shows up at a checkpoint with a firearm, the checkpoint lane comes to a standstill until the police resolve the incident. 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.