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The TSA Catches Three Philadelphia International Airport Employees With Guns in Just a Few Weeks

The TSA Catches Three Philadelphia International Airport Employees With Guns in Just a Few Weeks

Three Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) employees have been stopped trying to carry guns into restricted airside security zones within the last three weeks according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) whose officers found the weapons at security checkpoints. The latest incident involved a restaurant worker who was stopped on Wednesday with a 9mm handgun in his backpack as he went to work in Terminal B.

The unnamed employee said he simply forgot the handgun was still in his backpack. The TSA called the Philadelphia Police department who confiscated the weapon and cited the man. It’s not known whether further disciplinary action will be taken against the worker.

On October 30, the TSA caught a contract employee with a loaded handgun going through a secure door onto the airside tarmac area. The handgun was only found as a result of a random search which involved security officers conducting explosive swab tests on employees entering the secure area.

And on November 11, another airside employee was found with a loaded 9mm handgun in their backpack as they went through the normal TSA security checkpoint.

Understandably, Gerardo Spero, the TSA’s Federal Security Director for Philadelphia International Airport was left flabbergasted at yet another handgun being found on an airport employee.

“Employees who work at the airport should know better than to bring a weapon to the airport. Period,” commented Spero. “That’s absolutely inexcusable.”

Within the last 11 months, the TSA has already recovered 24 guns from passengers and staff passing through security checkpoints at the airport. Despite the massive drop in passenger numbers as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, the haul is four more than all the guns confiscated at PHL through the whole of 2019.

Nationally, the rate of handguns being discovered by the TSA has surged since the beginning of the Corona crisis. And although the number of guns being confiscated was already on the rise before the pandemic, some analysts believe the increased detection rate is more down to TSA officers having more time to do their jobs with fewer passengers passing through checkpoints.

The potential Federal civil penalty for an unloaded firearm starts at $2,050, while a loaded gun could come with $4,100 civil penalty. According to the TSA, around 80 per cent of guns passing through security checkpoints are loaded.

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