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

Third man in three weeks who works at the airport who has been caught with a gun
Local Press Release
Thursday, November 19, 2020

PHILADELPHIA – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers detected a 9mm caliber handgun in the backpack of an individual who works at one of the restaurants inside Philadelphia International Airport as he entered the security checkpoint on his way to work in Terminal B on Wednesday, Nov. 18. It marked the 24th gun that TSA officers have caught at the airport checkpoints--four more than were caught during 2019.  

TSA officers alerted the Philadelphia Police, who arrived at the checkpoint, confiscated the unloaded handgun and cited the man. He told officials that he forgot that he had his gun with him.

The man, a resident of Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, was the third individual who works at the airport who has been caught with a firearm within the last three weeks. TSA officers stopped a contractor who works at the airport with a loaded gun on Oct. 30 and another individual who works at the airport with a loaded gun on Nov. 11.

“Employees who work at the airport should know better than to bring a weapon to the airport. Period.” said Gerardo Spero, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Philadelphia International Airport. “That’s absolutely inexcusable.” 

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







(As of 11-18-20)

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 individuals 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.