Weekly Update: TSA Firearm Detections

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport detected two loaded firearms in travelers’ carry-on luggage in one day, during X-ray screening of traveler belongings at the security checkpoints.

On Thursday, August 20, TSA officers first discovered a loaded .40 caliber Glock with 13 rounds of ammunition, in the carry-on bag of a male passenger. Later that day, officers discovered a second loaded gun, a 9 mm SIG Sauer with eight rounds in the bag of a male passenger. There is no evidence that the incidents are linked.

So far in 2020, TSA officers at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport have detected 62 firearms in carry-on bags. 

Elsewhere, TSA officers caught an Oklahoma man with a .380 caliber handgun loaded with seven bullets including one in the chamber at one of the Philadelphia International Airport security checkpoints on Wednesday, August 19. After spotting the handgun in the checkpoint X-ray machine, TSA immediately alerted the Philadelphia Police, who responded to the checkpoint and confiscated the gun before issuing the man a citation. The man told officials that he forgot that he had his loaded gun with him.

On Thursday, August 20, TSA officers at Huntington Tri-State Airport stopped a Kentucky woman with a loaded gun in one of her carry-on bags. She had a .380 caliber handgun loaded with six bullets plus two loaded magazines. TSA officials notified the local police, who responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the gun and detained the woman for questioning prior to citing her on weapons charges.

And on Friday August 21, police arrested a Rockland County, New York, man after a TSA officer caught him with a 9 mm handgun loaded with five bullets in his carry-on bag at a Newark Liberty International Airport security checkpoint. TSA officers caught the handgun as it entered the checkpoint X-ray machine and immediately alerted the Port Authority Police. The police confiscated the gun and arrested the man, a resident of Monsey, New York, on weapons charges.

Orlando International Airport TSA officers report that they have stopped nine guns so far this month, including two guns each on three different days. These include a gun loaded with five rounds, one of which was chambered, that was detected on August 22. Just 24 hours prior, TSA officers at the airport had stopped two guns at the checkpoint. So far this year, 44 guns have been intercepted by TSA officers at Orlando International Airport.

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Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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