TSA catches man who works at Philadelphia International Airport with a loaded gun

Local Press Release
Thursday, November 12, 2020

PHILADELPHIA – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers detected a loaded 9mm caliber handgun in the backpack of an individual who works at Philadelphia International Airport as he entered the security checkpoint on Wednesday, Nov. 11. It marked the 23rd gun that TSA officers have caught at the airport checkpoints--three more than were caught during 2019. This is in spite of the fact that there has been a markedly lower passenger volume due to the pandemic.

TSA officers alerted the Philadelphia Police, who arrived at the checkpoint, confiscated the gun and arrested the man.

“Employees who work at the airport should know better than to bring a weapon to the airport,” said Gerardo Spero, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Philadelphia International Airport. “Under no circumstances should anyone every bring a gun to a checkpoint. Period.”

The TSA team at Philadelphia also stopped a contractor who works at the airport with a loaded gun on Oct. 30.

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







(As of 11-11-20)

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 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.