TSA stops Quakertown man with loaded handgun at Lehigh Valley International Airport

Local Press Release
Friday, July 30, 2021
TSA officers detected this loaded handgun at the Lehigh Valley International Airport checkpoint on July 29. (TSA photo)

ALLENTOWN, Pa. –  No doubt this traveler’s face turned red when Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers detected a .380 caliber handgun loaded with four bullets in his carry-on bag at the Lehigh Valley International Airport checkpoint on Thursday, July 29.

TSA officers spotted the loaded red and black colored gun in the man’s carry-on bag and alerted the airport authority police, who arrived at the checkpoint, confiscated the gun and cited the man, a resident of Quakertown, Pennsylvania.  

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 locked case, and packed separately from ammunition. Then the locked case should be taken to the airline check-in counter to be declared. TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website.

Bringing a gun to an airport checkpoint carries a federal civil penalty because 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. Additionally, if a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck®, that individual will lose their TSA PreCheck privileges.

Guns caught by TSA at the Lehigh Valley International Airport checkpoints 2017 to 2021







(As of 7/29/21)

Guns caught






*Significantly fewer travelers 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.