TSA stops local man from carrying handgun onto flight out of Philadelphia International Airport

Local Press Release
Wednesday, July 8, 2020
TSA officers at Philadelphia International Airport stopped a man with this loaded handgun at a checkpoint on Tuesday. (TSA photo)

PHILADELPHIA – A Philadelphia man was arrested by police after Transportation Security Administration officers detected a 9 mm handgun loaded with five bullets in his carry-on bag at Philadelphia International Airport yesterday, July 7.

After spotting the handgun in the checkpoint X-ray machine, TSA notified the Philadelphia Police, who responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the gun and arrested the man on weapons charges.   

The handgun was packed in the outer zippered pocket of the man’s backpack alongside his mobile phone and mobile phone charger.

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.

“Guns have no business being carried onto airplanes,” said Gerardo Spero, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Philadelphia International Airport. “Nobody should have access to a firearm on an airplane. Our TSA officers are good at detecting prohibited and illegal items brought to checkpoints.”

Guns caught by TSA at the Philadelphia International Airport checkpoints 2016 to 2020







(As of 7-7-20)

Guns caught







TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns with them at a checkpoint. This applies to travelers with or without concealed gun carry permits because even though an individual may have a concealed carry permit, it does not allow for a firearm to be carried onto an airplane. The complete list of civil penalties is posted online.

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.

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.