TSA stops Pennsylvania resident with loaded gun at Philadelphia International Airport

39th gun caught this year ties record for most guns caught at PHL Airport checkpoints in a single year
Local Press Release
Monday, November 14, 2022
TSA officers at Philadelphia International Airport prevented a man from carrying this loaded gun through a security checkpoint on Saturday, Nov. 12. (TSA photo)

PHILADELPHIA – A resident of Montgomery County, Pa., was caught with a loaded gun by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Philadelphia International Airport on Saturday, Nov. 12. The .380 caliber handgun was loaded with seven bullets, including one in the chamber.

When the TSA officer spotted the gun in the checkpoint X-ray machine, the Tinicum Police were alerted and confiscated the weapon from the man, a resident of Collegeville, Pa. TSA forwarded the incident to be followed up with the issuance of a federal financial civil penalty.

“Our TSA officers are good at detecting firearms and other prohibited items that travelers bring to our security checkpoints,” said Gerardo Spero, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Philadelphia International Airport. “Saturday’s gun marked the 39th that our officers have caught this year, which ties the record for the most guns caught at our airport checkpoints during a calendar year.”

He added that, “Responsible gun owners know where their firearms are at all times and they know that they are not allowed to carry them onto their flight. Bringing a gun to an airport introduces an unnecessary risk that an accident could happen If you own a firearm, under no circumstances should you ever bring it to a checkpoint. They must be properly packed and declared at the airline check-in counter.”

Travelers are allowed to transport their firearms as checked baggage to be transported in the belly of the plane so that nobody has access to a gun during a flight. Checked firearms must be unloaded, placed in a hard-sided case, locked and packed separately from ammunition. TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and travelers should check into firearm laws before they decide to travel with their guns. 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 stiff civil penalty to individuals who bring weapons with them to 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 into an airport or onto an airplane. 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 PHL Airport checkpoints, 2017 to 2022








(as of 11/13/22)

Guns caught at PHL checkpoints







Nationwide, TSA officers detected 5,972 firearms on passengers or their carry-on bags at checkpoints last year. Of the guns caught by TSA in 2021, about 86 percent were loaded.