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Three Guns Stopped at Philadelphia International Airport Already This Year Following Record 2022

“The year is young and at this point I ask every owner of a firearm to make a new year’s resolution to pack their weapon properly for a flight if they want to travel with it,” said Gerardo Spero, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Philadelphia International Airport.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Philadelphia International Airport have prevented three individuals from bringing handguns onto their flights in the first 12 days of the new year, the third of which was detected yesterday, Thursday, Jan. 12.

An Annapolis, Md., resident was arrested by police after TSA officers detected the man’s .40 caliber handgun in a carry-on bag yesterday. The gun was loaded with 12 bullets. When the TSA officer spotted the gun in the checkpoint X-ray machine, the Philadelphia Police were alerted, confiscated the weapon and arrested the man. TSA also forwarded the incident to be followed up with the issuance of a federal financial civil penalty.

“The year is young and at this point I ask every owner of a firearm to make a new year’s resolution to pack their weapon properly for a flight if they want to travel with it,” said Gerardo Spero, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Philadelphia International Airport. “It is important to know that the proper way to transport a firearm for a flight is to ensure the weapon is not loaded, that it is packed in a locked hard-sided case and then taken to the airline check-in counter, where the airline representative will ensure it is transported in the belly of the plane with cargo and other checked baggage. Hopefully this incident serves as a reminder to other firearm owners about the proper way to transport their firearm because we have seen too many guns showing up at our security checkpoints already this year.”

TSA officers at Philadelphia International Airport detected 44 guns in carry-on luggage in 2022. The 44 guns caught set a record for the most guns that were detected at the airport’s security checkpoint in the 21-year history of TSA. Thirty-three of those guns, 75 percent, were loaded.  

Other recent firearm detections include Washington Dulles International Airport where TSA prevented a man from bringing his loaded handgun onto his flight on January 12. The 9mm gun was loaded with two bullets. The weapon was caught as the man entered the security checkpoint. The X-ray unit alerted on the man’s carry-on bag. TSA officials notified the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority police who confiscated the gun and cited the man on a weapons charge. The traveler told officials that he meant to remove his firearm from his bag before his flight, but that he forgot to do so.

The same day, TSA officers at West Virginia International Yeager Airport stopped a man with a loaded handgun at the security checkpoint. The .22 caliber handgun was loaded with five bullets. When the TSA officer spotted the gun in the checkpoint X-ray machine, airport police were alerted, came to the checkpoint and confiscated the weapon from the traveler. The man told officials that he forgot that he had his loaded gun with him. 

Last month, TSA announced that the penalty for bringing weapons to airport checkpoints has increased and can reach as high as $15,000, depending on the circumstances.

Find out how to properly travel with a firearm at TSA.

Kylie Bielby
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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