Montgomery County, PA, man cited by police after TSA catches him with loaded handgun at Philadelphia International Airport checkpoint

Local Press Release
Monday, March 2, 2020
TSA officers detected this handgun in a man’s carry-on bag at Philadelphia International Airport on March 1. (TSA Photo)

PHILADELPHIA – A Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, man was cited by police after Transportation Security Administration officers at Philadelphia International Airport detected a 9 mm handgun in the man’s carry-on bag in addition to a magazine loaded with eight bullets and another magazine that was not loaded.

TSA contacted the police, which responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the firearm and detained the man, a resident of Hatboro, Pennsylvania, for questioning before citing him on a weapons violation.

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.

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

Guns caught at checkpoints at Philadelphia International Airport 2016 to 2020







(as of 3-1-20)

Guns caught at PHL checkpoints






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. In addition, TSA has the authority to assess civil penalties for weapons violations. 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.