TSA catches man with loaded handgun at Lehigh Valley International Airport

Man claims the gun belonged to his girlfriend
Local Press Release
Friday, November 6, 2020
TSA officers detected this handgun at a Lehigh Valley International Airport checkpoint on Nov. 5. (TSA photo)

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers detected a .380 caliber handgun loaded with seven bullets, including one in the chamber, at the security checkpoint at Lehigh Valley International Airport on Thursday, Nov. 5.

TSA officers spotted the loaded gun in the man’s carry-on bag and alerted the local police, who arrived at the checkpoint, confiscated the gun and cited the man, a resident of Lebanon, Pennsylvania. The man told officials that the gun did not belong to him, rather it belonged to his girlfriend.

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.

Guns caught by TSA at the Lehigh Valley International Airport checkpoints 2017 to 2020






(As of 11-5-20)

Guns caught





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.

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 ticket 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.

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.