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

Local Press Release
Friday, August 28, 2020

PHILADELPHIA – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers caught a Florida man with a 9 mm handgun at one of the Philadelphia International Airport security checkpoints on Thursday, Aug. 27.

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.

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.

TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns with them at a checkpoint. A typical first offense for carrying a loaded handgun into a checkpoint is $4,100 and can go as high as $13,669 depending on any mitigating circumstances. 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. If a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck™, that individual will lose their TSA PreCheck™ privileges.

“Travelers must understand that firearms are prohibited in the cabins of airplanes. As hard as the TSA officers are working to mitigate health risks during the pandemic, no one should be introducing guns at checkpoints,” 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 8-27-20)

Guns caught






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.