TSA officers caught this handgun at a Philadelphia International Airport security checkpoint on August 28. (TSA)

Weekly Update: TSA Firearm Detections

Transportation Security Administration officers stopped three individuals from each bringing a handgun onto an airplane in a four-day span at Philadelphia International Airport. In each instance, the Philadelphia police responded, confiscated the weapons and filed criminal charges.

TSA officers detected the first gun when a Florida man was caught on August 27, with a 9 mm handgun. TSA stopped the second gun the next day, when a Philadelphia man was caught when he tried to carry a .40 caliber handgun loaded with eight bullets through the checkpoint. He was cited by the police. TSA officers caught the third man, also from Philadelphia, when he tried to bring a 9 mm handgun loaded with 15 bullets including one in the chamber onto his flight. The police arrested him.

None of the incidents were related. In all three instances, after TSA officers spotted the handguns in a checkpoint X-ray machine, TSA officials immediately alerted the Philadelphia Police, who responded to the checkpoints and confiscated the weapons.

Last year, TSA officers at the airport stopped 20 guns, this year the total is already up to 15 despite the lower number of travelers.

It was a busy week for TSA officers in Florida, too, as they stopped guns at three of the region’s airports on August 27 and 28. Travelers brought the guns to Orlando International (MCO), Miami International (MIA), Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International (FLL) and Tampa International (TPA) airports.

Year-to-date, 45 guns have been intercepted by the TSA at MCO, 41 at FLL, 40 at TPA and 33 at MIA.  The total statewide year-to-date is 249.

Elsewhere, TSA officers stopped a Rockingham County, Virginia, man from bringing a .380 caliber handgun loaded with six bullets, plus a magazine with another six bullets onto an airplane at Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport on August 24.  TSA officials immediately alerted the airport police, who responded to the checkpoint and confiscated the handgun from the man.

And TSA officers discovered a loaded firearm at a Nashville International Airport on August 27. At approximately 4:30 a.m., a loaded KelTec .380 caliber handgun was detected in a passenger’s carry-on bag. TSA immediately alerted airport police, who took possession of the bag and escorted the passenger out of the checkpoint area.

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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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