TSA: York Haven man had gun at Harrisburg airport

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

A York Haven man is being cited with a summary violation for accidentally bringing a gun into Harrisburg International Airport, officials said.

Jeffrey Scott Thyng, 35, is facing a disorderly conduct citation, according to Scott Miller, spokesman for the Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority. It is SARAA's police department that will file the citation.

"He forgot it was there," Miller said of the gun. "He had all the required documentation. He had a concealed weapons permit."

TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said this handgun was found in the carry-on bag of a York Haven man at Harrisburg International Airport on Oct. 19, 2018.

It happened Friday, Oct. 19, when officers with the federal Transportation Security Administration found a .380 Ruger handgun loaded with six bullets in Thyng's carry-on bag, according to TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein.

TSA personnel notified SARAA police officers, who initially confiscated the handgun and detained Thyng for questioning, Farbstein said in a news release.

She noted that checkpoint lines at an airport "come to a standstill" when a weapon is found in a passenger's bag or in their clothing.

'Honest mistake': "These things don't happen very often (at HIA) and when they do, it generally appears to be an honest mistake," Miller told The York Dispatch.

Thyng was allowed to take his handgun back to his parked vehicle, and he made arrangements for someone to pick it up, Miller said.

SARAA officers can file criminal charges against people trying to board planes who have firearms in their carry-on luggage or on their person, he confirmed.

But officers have the latitude to make judgment calls, according to Miller.

"If, in the judgment of the officers, it doesn't look like someone is trying to commit a crime, we'll cite him for disorderly conduct ... for creating a disturbance at the airport," he said.

In addition to the summary nontraffic citation — which is akin in seriousness to a traffic ticket — Thyng could also face a civil penalty from the TSA.

Civil penalties: According to Farbstein, the TSA can level penalties of up to $13,000 against travelers who bring firearms to airport checkpoints, although a typical first-offense penalty is $3,900.

"Even travelers with concealed carry permits are not allowed to bring guns past TSA checkpoints," Farbstein wrote in an email.

For information on how to legally travel with a firearm, visit www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/firearms-and-ammunition.

Travelers also should contact their airline before flying to determine airlines' specific firearm and ammunition policies, Farbstein said.

Thyng could not be reached for comment on Monday, Oct. 22.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.