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

Second gun stopped in three days
Local Press Release
Thursday, July 30, 2020
TSA officers detected this firearm in a traveler’s carry-on bag on Wednesday. (TSA photo)

PHILADELPHIA – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers caught a Tennessee man with a .38 caliber handgun loaded with six bullets at one of the Philadelphia International Airport security checkpoints on Wednesday, July 29. It was the second gun caught within a three-day span. A Pennsylvania man was caught with a loaded gun on Sunday, July 26.

After spotting the handgun in the checkpoint X-ray machine, TSA immediately alerted the Philadelphia Police, who responded to the checkpoint and confiscated the gun before issuing the man a citation. The man told officials that he forgot that he had his loaded gun with him.

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. “It is extremely disturbing to see so many firearms being brought to the airport at a time when the number of passengers who are flying is in the neighborhood of 75 to 80 percent fewer than last year. And to hear that someone forgot that he had his loaded gun with him is just plain careless. If you own a firearm, you should know where it is at all times.”

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







(As of 7-29-20)

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.