TSA officers catch Delaware woman with a loaded gun at Philadelphia International Airport

Woman cited by police on weapons charge
Local Press Release
Friday, September 15, 2023
This gun was caught by TSA officers at a Philadelphia International Airport checkpoint on Sept. 14. (TSA photo)

PHILADELPHIA – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Philadelphia International Airport prevented a New Castle County, Del., woman from bringing her handgun through the security checkpoint yesterday, Thursday (Sept. 14). The .380 caliber gun was loaded with six bullets.
The gun was caught as the woman entered the security checkpoint. The X-ray unit alerted on her carry-on bag, which required a closer inspection. The firearm was confiscated by the local police. The woman, a resident of Bear, Del., was not only cited by police, but she also faces a stiff financial civil penalty for bringing a gun to a TSA security checkpoint. The penalty for carrying weapons can reach as high as $15,000, depending on the circumstances.

“This was a good catch on the part of our TSA team here at Philadelphia,” said Gerardo Spero, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “As we all know, passengers are not permitted to carry their firearms through our security checkpoints.”

Firearms caught at TSA checkpoints at Philadelphia International Airport, 2017 to 2023

Year 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 (As of 9/14/23)
Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) 35 25 20 26 39 41 29

Bringing a gun to an airport checkpoint carries a federal civil penalty because TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to individuals who have guns and gun parts with them at a checkpoint. Civil penalties for bringing a gun into a checkpoint can stretch into thousands of dollars, depending on mitigating circumstances. This applies to individuals with or without concealed gun carry permits because a concealed carry permit does not allow a firearm to be carried through a checkpoint. 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.
Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and passengers should do their homework to make sure that they are not violating any local firearm laws. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. 
Unsure if an item should be packed in a carry-on bag, checked bag, either or neither? Download the free myTSA app, which has a handy “What can I bring?” feature that allows you to type in the item to find out if it can fly. Or ask on Twitter or Facebook Messenger at @AskTSA. Travelers may send a question by texting “Travel” to AskTSA (275-872).