TSA catches local man with handgun at Erie International Airport

Local Press Release
Monday, November 8, 2021
TSA officers at Erie International Airport caught this loaded handgun inside a man’s carry-on bag on Nov. 8. (TSA photo)

ERIE, Pa. – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Erie International Airport (ERI) detected a .380 caliber handgun in a carry-on bag of an Erie County, Pa., man earlier today, Nov. 8. The firearm was loaded with five bullets.

The handgun was spotted by a TSA officer in the checkpoint X-ray machine. TSA alerted the airport police, who arrived at the checkpoint and confiscated the gun. The man now faces a stiff federal financial penalty for carrying a gun to the security checkpoint.

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 reserves the right to issue a $3,000 to $13,910 civil penalty to travelers who have loaded 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 or aggravating 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.

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.