TSA officers confiscate gun at Harrisburg airport

Anthony Maenza
York Dispatch

A man from Lebanon County was stopped from bringing a handgun onto his flight this week by Transportation Security Administration officers at Harrisburg International Airport.

The TSA officer spotted the revolver in the checkpoint X-ray machine in a carry-on bag the man was to take on board on Sunday. Police were alerted and confiscated the weapon. The man will have to pay a federal fine. 

“It is always disappointing when we see travelers bring their guns to our security checkpoints,” Karen Keys-Turner, TSA’s federal security director for the airport, said in a news release about the incident. “Travelers should know better. Guns have been prohibited from being carried onto planes for decades before TSA even existed. So it should be no surprise when someone is stopped at our checkpoint, has their weapon confiscated by police, is charged by the police and then heavily fined by TSA.”

This gun was detected by TSA in a traveler’s carry-on bag at Harrisburg International Airport on April 17. (TSA photo)

The TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty of up to $13,900 to individuals who bring weapons with them to a checkpoint. That applies to travelers with or without concealed gun carry permits, because even though an individual may have a concealed carry permit, it does not allow for a firearm to be taken on an airplane. If a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck, that individual will lose their TSA PreCheck privileges.

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Travelers can transport their firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packed and declared at the airline ticket counter to be transported in the belly of the plane. Checked firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked and packed separately from ammunition.

TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website. Travelers should also contact their airline, as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.

Nationwide, TSA officers found 5,972 firearms on passengers or their carry-on bags at checkpoints last year, according to the release. Of the guns caught by TSA in 2022, about 86% were loaded.

— Reach Anthony Maenza at amaenza@yorkdispatch.com or @atmaenza on Twitter.