TSA catches Lancaster County man with loaded gun at Harrisburg International Airport checkpoint

Local Press Release
Thursday, February 27, 2020
TSA officers detected this loaded gun in a traveler’s carry-on bag at Harrisburg International Airport on Feb. 26. (TSA photo)

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Transportation Security Administration officers at Harrisburg International Airport prevented a Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, man from bringing a .380 caliber handgun loaded with six bullets onto an airplane yesterday, Feb. 26.  

The man’s gun was caught by TSA officers as his belongings were entering the security checkpoint X-ray machine. TSA officers notified the Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority Police, which came to the checkpoint and detained the man, a resident of Ephrata, Pennsylvania, for questioning, before citing him on weapons charges.

Number of guns caught at the Harrisburg International Airport checkpoint 2015 to 2020








Guns caught at Harrisburg Int’l Airport checkpoint







Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality.

Nationwide last year, 4,432 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging about 12.1 firearms per day, approximately a 5% increase nationally in firearm discoveries from the total of 4,239 detected in 2018. Eighty-seven percent of firearms detected at checkpoints last year were loaded.

As a reminder, individuals who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement. Even travelers with concealed firearm permits are not allowed to bring guns onto airplanes in their carry-on bags. If an individual is a TSA Pre✓® member, that person could even lose TSA Pre✓® status. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $4,100. The complete list of penalties is posted online.

TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.