TSA catches man with handgun at Philadelphia International Airport checkpoint

Man claims he had no idea how the gun got into his carry-on bag
Local Press Release
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
A man was caught with this handgun in his carry-on bag at a Philadelphia International Airport checkpoint on Jan. 25. (TSA photo

PHILADELPHIA—Transportation Security Administration officers at Philadelphia International Airport stopped a handgun from getting through the checkpoint on Monday, Jan. 25.

When the TSA officer detected the gun in the checkpoint X-ray machine, the police were alerted, responded to the checkpoint and confiscated the weapon before arresting the man. The man, a Philadelphia resident, claimed he had no idea how the gun got into his carry-on bag.

In addition to his arrest, the man also faces a stiff Federal financial civil penalty for carrying a gun to a TSA checkpoint.

“Claiming that you don’t know how you came to have a gun in your carry-on bag is no excuse,” said Gerardo Spero, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Philadelphia International Airport. “Travelers need to know the contents of their carry-on items. I recommend that before you pack your bag to be sure to empty it before you start to place other items inside, so that way you know what’s inside before you leave home and head to the airport. Now, in addition to getting arrested, this individual faces a Federal financial penalty.”

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.