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

Local Press Release
Monday, July 27, 2020

PHILADELPHIA – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers caught a Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, man with aa 9mm handgun loaded with seven bullets, including one in the chamber on Sunday, July 26 at one of the Philadelphia International Airport security checkpoints.

After spotting the handgun in the checkpoint X-ray machine, TSA immediately alerted the Philadelphia Police, who responded to the checkpoint and allowed the Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania, resident to place his firearm in a checked bag after it was unloaded because he had the gun in a locked hard-sided case, which is the proper way to pack a gun for transport in a checked bag.

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.

“Our TSA team is focused on its security mission and they are highly skilled at detecting prohibited items brought to checkpoints—especially firearms,” said Gerardo Spero, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Philadelphia International Airport. “The proper way to transport a firearm is to make sure it is unloaded and packed in a locked hard-sided case. Then it needs to be declared to the airline, which will ensure it travels with the checked baggage.”

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






2020 (As of 7-26-20)

Guns caught checkpoint






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.