Local man arrested after TSA catches him with stolen handgun at Philadelphia International Airport checkpoint

Local Press Release
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
A Philadelphia man was caught with this loaded handgun in his carry-on bag at a Philadelphia International Airport checkpoint on April 27. Police arrested the man, who was in possession of what turned out to be a stolen gun. (TSA photo)

PHILADELPHIA—A local man was arrested by police yesterday (April 27) after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Philadelphia International Airport caught a .40 caliber handgun loaded with eight bullets in the Philadelphia man’s carry-on bag at one of the security checkpoints on Tuesday, April 27.

The TSA team alerted the Philadelphia Police, who confiscated the handgun and arrested the man. The gun had been reported to authorities as having been stolen. In addition to being arrested, the man also faces a stiff federal financial civil penalty for carrying a loaded gun to an airport checkpoint.  

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.

TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns and gun parts with them at a checkpoint. Civil penalties for bringing a handgun into a checkpoint can stretch into thousands of dollars, depending on 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.

TSA Firearms Caught at Philadelphia International Airport checkpoints, 2017 to 2021







Guns caught






*Significantly fewer passengers than previous years due to the pandemic.

Nationwide, TSA officers detected 3,257 firearms on passengers or their carry-on bags at checkpoints last year, although the total number of passengers screened at airport checkpoints across the country fell by 500 million compared to 2019 due to the pandemic. The result was that twice as many firearms per million passengers screened were detected at checkpoints in 2020 compared to 2019. In 2020, TSA caught approximately 10 firearms per million passengers as compared to about five firearms per million passengers in 2019.  Of the guns caught by TSA in 2020, about 83 percent were loaded.