TSA intercepts handgun and ammunition in man’s carry-on bag at Harrisburg International Airport

Local Press Release
Monday, July 1, 2024
TSA officers stopped a man with this handgun at a Harrisburg International Airport security checkpoint on July 1. (TSA photo)

HARRISBURG, Pa.– A Virginia man was cited by police after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Harrisburg International Airport detected a 9mm handgun among the man’s carry-on items. The firearm packed alongside a magazine loaded with seven bullets.

It was the second firearm that TSA officers have detected at the airport checkpoint this year.

The weapon was caught as the man entered the security checkpoint. The X-ray unit alerted on the firearm in his carry-on bag. TSA officials notified the police who confiscated the gun, and cited the man on a weapons charge. Law enforcement officers confiscate guns, not TSA officials.

In addition to the citation by airport police, this individual now faces a stiff financial civil penalty. Civil penalties for carrying weapons can reach a maximum of $15,000.

“Bringing guns to checkpoints is a serious security violation and this individual can expect to receive a federal fine that will be in the thousands of dollars,” said Karen Keys-Turner, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport.

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms only in checked baggage if they are unloaded and packed in a hard-sided locked case. 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.

 Bringing a gun to an airport checkpoint also carries a federal civil penalty because TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers 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. 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 individuals who want to travel with their gun 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).