HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — According to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers working at Harrisburg International Airport, travelers are continuing to bring guns to the airport in their carry-on luggage. TSA officers are reminding travelers not to do this.

So far this year, TSA officers at Harrisburg International Airport have detected a total of eight guns in carry-on luggage. Eighty-seven percent of the guns found were loaded, TSA officials say.

According to TSA at Harrisburg, these eight guns have set a new record for the number of guns that have been brought to the TSA security checkpoint with a full month remaining in the year. Each of these firearms was discovered during the routine screening of carry-on items at the airport checkpoint.

Firearms caught at the Harrisburg International Airport checkpoint

Year201820192020 20212022 (As of 11/28/22)
Guns caught 67428
Data from TSA

When a TSA officer sees the image of a handgun on the X-ray monitor, the police are immediately notified. Travelers who bring a gun in their carry-on luggage can face potential criminal citations and stiff federal civil penalties, TSA says.

“The most common excuse we hear is that someone claims that they forgot that they had their loaded gun with them,” said Karen Keys-Turner, TSA Federal Security Director for the airport. “If you own a firearm, you should know where it is at all times. It is part of being a responsible gun owner. Even if a traveler has a concealed weapons permit, they are not allowed to board an airplane with the gun in carry-on luggage. The idea is that nobody should have access to a gun during a flight. However, you can transport it with checked baggage if you do so properly.”

If you are transporting a gun, TSA officers say you can transport it on the flight if it is unloaded, packed in a locked, hard-sided case, and declared to the airline. The airline will make sure the gun travels with checked baggage in the belly of the plane and never in the cabin of the plane.

TSA also mentions that replica firearms are prohibited in carry-on baggage and must be transported in checked luggage.

“Prior to traveling, individuals who want to transport their firearm should do some homework and check gun laws and regulations at their destination to ensure they are in compliance with all local and state laws,” Keys-Turner advised. TSA also recommends travelers check with their airline prior to their flight to ensure they comply with any airline-specific requirements for transporting firearms.

Citations for carrying the weapon through a security checkpoint can reach up to $14,000 depending on the circumstances. TSA officers remind travelers that even though they have a concealed gun carry permit, it doesn’t mean that they can carry their firearm onto a place. You can view penalties here.

You can find more information regarding transportation of firearms and ammunition here.

Travelers can use the “Can I Bring?” feature on the TSA website or on the free downloadable myTSA app. Travelers can also Tweet or Message “@AskTSA” if they have a travel question or are unsure if an item is allowed through security in a carry-on bag. You can receive real-time assistance on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.

In 2021, TSA officers detected 5,972 firearms at airport security checkpoints nationwide. A total of 86% of those guns were loaded.