Local man caught by TSA with loaded handgun at Lehigh Valley International Airport security checkpoint

Local Press Release
Thursday, November 18, 2021
TSA officers detected this loaded handgun at the Lehigh Valley International Airport checkpoint on Nov. 17. (TSA photo)

ALLENTOWN, Pa. –  A Bethlehem, Pa., man  was prevented from bringing his loaded handgun onto a flight yesterday when  Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers caught him with the weapon at the Lehigh Valley International Airport security checkpoint.

TSA officers spotted the 9 mm handgun loaded with six bullets in the man’s carry-on bag. The gun had one bullet in the chamber.

When the TSA officer spotted the gun on the checkpoint X-ray monitor, the police were alerted and confiscated the gun.

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







(As of 11/17/21)

Guns caught






*Significantly fewer travelers due to the pandemic.

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.

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 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.

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.