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August 29, 2023

PHL airport employee caught with loaded gun at security checkpoint, TSA says

The 9mm pistol is the 26th firearm intercepted at Philadelphia International Airport so far this year. The man says he brought it by mistake

Crime Transportation
Philadelphia International Airport THOM CARROLL/for PhillyVoice

A Philadelphia International Airport employee was caught with a loaded 9mm handgun at a TSA security checkpoint on Monday. The man told authorities he brought the gun by mistake.

The Transportation Security Administration caught a Philly man with a loaded 9mm handgun at airport security at Philadelphia International Airport on Monday. The man, who reportedly works at a concession stand in the airport, was cited by police for having the gun and may face additional penalties.

Authorities confiscated the gun after it was detected on an X-ray machine at the security checkpoint, according to a press release from the TSA. The weapon was loaded with nine bullets, one of which was in the gun's chamber.

The airport employee told authorities that he forgot to remove the gun from his bag after taking it to a shooting range. Even so, guns are strictly prohibited at U.S. airport security checkpoints.

In addition to being cited for possessing the weapon, the man had his airport ID confiscated by authorities, which effectively prevents him from working in the airport. He may also face a federal civil penalty; depending on the circumstances, one can face a fine as high as $15,000 for bringing a gun to an airport security checkpoint.

“This was a good catch on the part of our TSA team here at Philadelphia,” said TSA Federal Security Director Gerardo Spero in the press release. “As we all know, passengers are not permitted to carry their firearms through our security checkpoints. That also goes for individuals who work at the airport. In this instance, the man represented a possible insider threat with him being someone who worked in the airport.”

Under federal law, U.S. travelers are permitted to bring unloaded firearms in their checked luggage as long as the weapons are properly packed in a hard case and declared during the check-in process. Guns are not allowed in carry-on bags.

Monday's incident marks the 26th time the TSA has found a gun at PHL this year, according to TSA data. Last year, the agency prevented a total of 44 firearms from going through PHL airport security.

In late July, travelers at PHL were surprised to encounter a stray raccoon at one of the airport’s baggage claims after the animal emerged from one of the baggage tunnels. Wildlife is known to occasionally find its way into the airport from the surrounding areas. The raccoon was unarmed.