HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A New Hampshire man was stopped by TSA officers at the Harrisburg International Airport airport checkpoint on Saturday, June 24, after a loaded handgun was detected in his carry-on bag.
According to TSA, the .40 caliber gun, loaded with nine bullets, was discovered after the airport’s X-ray unit alerted the officers to inspect the bag.
The man, who was not identified by the TSA, will now face a financial civil penalty.
According to TSA, this was the sixth gun stopped at the airport’s security checkpoint this year and one of more than 3,000 guns stopped nationally at security checkpoints in 2023.
According to TSA, 10 guns were caught at the Harrisburg International Airport checkpoint in 2022 and 6,542 firearms were caught at 262 out of 430 airport security checkpoints nationwide that same year. An overwhelming majority, 88%, of those guns were loaded.
“Our officers are good at their jobs and are staying vigilant to keep all travelers safe and secure during this very busy summer travel season,” Karen Keys Turner, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport, said.
“Airports are congested, people are eager to travel and this is no time to be carrying prohibited or illegal items in your carry-on bag. Gun owners have a responsibility to know where their firearms are at all times and know that they should not be in a carry-on bag,” Keys Turner said.
Guns are not permitted through the security checkpoint. Passengers traveling with firearms are only permitted to store them unloaded in a checked bag, in a hard-sided, locked case, which should be declared at the airline check-in counter.
More information about TSA guidelines regarding firearms is available online.
“It is concerning that most people who are stopped at TSA checkpoints with a firearm tell us that they forgot that they had it with them,” Keys Turner said. “Travelers need to come to the airport prepared to go through the security screening process and that means knowing the contents of their carry-on bags and knowing that there are no prohibited items inside.”