TSA prevents Pennsylvania man from bringing antique pistol onto plane at Philadelphia International Airport

Man claims the firearm was a gift from his father
Local Press Release
Monday, June 10, 2024

PHILADELPHIA – A Middletown, Pa., man was cited by police yesterday (June 9) at Philadelphia International Airport after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers detected an antique revolver among the man’s carry-on items at one of the airport security checkpoints. The old revolver was sitting among some clothing and was not loaded.

When TSA officers detected the handgun, the man told officials that he received the antique pistol as a gift from his father.

“This individual learned a hard lesson about the proper way to transport a firearm for a flight,” said Gerardo Spero, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “You just don’t toss a firearm into a carry-on bag along with your clothes, even if it is unloaded. Now, in addition to being charged with a criminal citation by the police, the man 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.

Firearms caught at TSA checkpoints at Philadelphia International Airport, 2017 to 2024










As of 6/9/24

Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)









TSA has details on how to travel with a firearm and ammunition posted on its web site. 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.

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.

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).