Passenger Spots Handgun Being Smuggled Past Airport Security

An eagle-eyed passenger at Philadelphia International Airport spotted another passenger handing a bag directly to an airline employee — skipping airport security. The passenger alerted the TSA, who located the US Airways flight and searched the bag. Guess what was inside? An unloaded handgun.

The Philadelphia Inquirer says that Flight 1195 to Phoenix was delayed 4 hours due to the incident. The owner of the bag and the U.S. Airways worker are being questioned.

US Airways is, of course, taking it very seriously.

Safety and security is our first and foremost priority in everything we do,” Morgan Durrant, senior manager of corporate communications for the airline, said in an e-mailed statement. “We are cooperating with investigators fully and take security considerations very seriously. Further comment right now is not appropriate out of respect to the ongoing investigation.”

To see what else is being taken seriously, click here.

Police: Handgun handed off at airport, gets on plane [Philadelphia Inquirer]
(Photo:Flying Photog)


Edit Your Comment

  1. giantnegro says:

    Well, that’s just idiotic. You can check unloaded handguns easily, I guess they just didn’t want to pay a checked baggage fee.

    • Mackinstyle says:

      Or wave it around in a hijacking? Obviously that’s unlikely to be the case. We’ll find out it’s just some idiot. After all, he is the owner of a handgun. ;) ;)

    • Cant_stop_the_rock says:

      Or have their gun stolen by the TSA employees who screen checked luggage. Everyone knows not to check valuables like laptops; a good handgun costs as much as a laptop. I’d find a different way to get my gun to its destination.

      • crymson777 says:

        @Cant_stop_the_rock: Checked handguns are required to be severly secured. If you want to make sure your stuff gets there without being molested, and, you know, actually gets there, check a handgun in your bag. A simple starter pistol would work fine and only costs under $50. Learned about this from one of the most travelled individuals I know.

        • sleze69 says:

          @crymson777: Professional photographers do this all the time. A $20 starter pistol and a lockable case is all it takes.

        • FooSchnickens - Full of SCAR says:

          @crymson777: Starter pistols and flare guns. Both relatively cheap and require the TSA checks whenever they need to be opened (ie you must be present). If it IS opened without you being there someone is in DEEP crap.

      • CharlieInSeattle says:

        @Cant_stop_the_rock: Ya you should be able to ship to a local gun store in the area you are going.

        • econobiker says:

          @CharlieInSeattle: Shipping guns requires federal firearms licenses on both sides of the transactions and they don’t do if for free either versus the checked gun deal.

          • valtr0n says:

            @econobiker: Actually, only the receiving end of the transaction requires an FFL. You can ship a gun via UPS without an FFL, it simply must be addressed to an FFL holder.

            How do you think you send a gun in for warranty work?

            • perruptor says:

              @valtr0n: I used to live in a town that had a major UPS terminal in it. The local paper ran a police blotter column every week, and it frequently included arrests of UPS workers who’d “borrowed” the contents of somebody’s packages. Often, the sticky fingers latched onto pistols.

              My favorite was the guy who took home a set of T-tops for a Camaro.

      • feckingmorons says:

        @Cant_stop_the_rock: Guns in checked luggage have to be in locked containers. Last time I flew with a handgun I decleared it at the counter, the TSA agent came to the counter, examined the gun and the case, and then I locked it with two large padlocks in front of her.

        I then placed it in my bag, sealed that with a numbered zip tie and picked it up intact at my destination.

        I have never had a problem.

  2. arsenicookie says:

    and i had my nail clippers confiscated!

  3. KingPsyz says:


    There’s always a gaping hole in their system. Be it an airline employee, baggage handler, under trained tsa rent a cop, etc.

    If we as consumers have to be relegated to all these restrictions and security screening I cannot for the life of me see why the employees aren’t as well.

    Yes they were caught, but only because of another passenger. Had nobody noticed the employee was successful in getting a gun past all the supposed security.

    I do wonder what this genius thought was going to happen when they landed though…

    Point is, if this guy can sneak a gun on board a flight what’s to stop a terrorist from getting a mole on a few airlines and have them pass through a bomb or guns?

  4. floraposte says:

    So do we think the airline employee had to be a friend or relative of the traveler? I can’t imagine them just saying “Sure, I’ll stick this right on for you” for a random passerby.

    Not that’s likely to keep his/her job, of course.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @floraposte: Well it’s that or the traveler is really a super secret spy in the Office of Secret Intelligence.

      Seriously though, I want to see that happen in a movie. Spy guy is sneaking past security and a regular Joe is all, “Hey, what’s he doing!?!?”

    • Corporate_guy says:

      @floraposte: Keep their job? Both of them should get the maximum charge for carrying a hand gun on a plane and any addition charges that are possible.

      • From the cubicle of PGibbons says:

        @Corporate_guy: No, Gitmo is only for someone trying to save 3 dollars by trying to sneak a pint of water past the TSA. Guns are somewhere in the constitution and therefore immune from criticism….

  5. lawnmowerdeth says:

    An unloaded handgun is about the same as a hammer.

    • Mackinstyle says:

      It’s scarier when someone’s aiming it around the cabin screaming at people. There’s a reason that even if a weapon is empty, it’s the same charges of assault with a deadly weapon. At least in Canada that holds true.

      • JGKojak says:


        Also- bullets would be VERY easy to smuggle- so it may be unloaded, until his accomplice hooks up w/him– you think a terrorist who could smuggle a gun on a plane couldn’t smuggle ammo???

        • HiPwr says:

          @JGKojak: I don’t know what the point of smuggling bullets onto an airplane would be, but getting cartridges on would be problematic. They will set off a metal detector and are quite distinctive in shape when viewed with an X-ray machine.

          • humphrmi says:

            @HiPwr: Maybe someone carrying ammo could pass it to a friend with the airline to get it around security.

            But, nah, that’d never happen.

            • Wombatish says:

              @humphrmi: I had a friend get on a plane less than 3 months after September eleventh with a metal belt buckle shaped like rifle rounds in his carry on. The rounds were not real, but they were the proper shape and metal….

              Somehow not caught at all.

              (He didn’t bring the belt buckle on purpose or anything… he’s kind of a hick and it’s part of his normal attire, he didn’t check -which- buckle was still on the belt he tossed in his bag)

          • etla says:

            @HiPwr: As far as I can tell they aren’t x-raying people’s asses yet. Considering you can get thru security wearing button fly jeans I don’t think the metal detector is much threat either.

            • HiPwr says:

              @etla: Put a handful of .45 ACP rounds in your pocket and walk through the metal detector at the airport and let me know how that works out for you.

            • Cocotte says:

              @etla: If there’s more metal than a few buttons in your pants they’ll pull you aside. This was how I learned not to travel in goth pants (metal loops, some metal decorative pieces along the legs) unless I was in the mood to be felt up by a lady in a TSA hat.

    • UnicornMaster says:

      unless@lawnmowerdeth: unless someone smuggles in bullets.

      But when you’re hijacking a plane, i’m sure the passengers aren’t going to check and see if your gun is loaded.

      • HIV 2 Elway says:

        @UnicornMaster: Cartridges. Bullets are what come out of the barrel, cartridges go into the chamber.

        I have ATF clearance to travel with explosives and even I get nervous when I need to take small samples to various testing facilities.

        • rioja951 - Why, oh why must I be assigned to the vehicle maintenance when my specialty is demolitions? says:

          @HIV 2 Elway: I know what that feels like.

          When I fly on commercial flights, even on uniform, I have to notify the airline that I am carrying my weapon since I most certainly will not surrender it to civilians. If I’m off duty, I am sometimes wary of how I have to check in my weapon.
          (The only reason I carry my weapon while off duty is when I’m being deployed to and embassy / consulate detail)

    • NitrousO says:

      @lawnmowerdeth: Except that you can point it at people and they will surrender. No one wants to see it fired to be sure when you’re in a pressurized environment.

      • wgrune says:


        I think they debunked that on Mythbusters. IIRC you could shoot several holes in the plane without massive depressurization.

        • bbagdan says:


          Indeed, even blasting a door-sized hole with a grenade barely created so much as a gentle breeze for people a row back.

          • floraposte says:

            @bbagdan: They were testing specifically for explosive decompression. They weren’t testing for decompression, period (which would have been tough to do at ground level). So it’s possible that pressurization would be compromised, just not result in a chunk exploding out of the side of the plane. Plus if the shot hits something in the electrical or hydraulic system there’s a risk of additional problems.

      • teknowaffle says:

        @NitrousO: @jsbeagle:

        A semi-auto weapon can be known as an automatic. .45 auto meant that it was designed for an autoloading weapon.

      • bbagdan says:


        Actually any intelligent person knows that whole cabin depressurization thing is just hollywood makebelieve.

    • The-Lone-Gunman says:

      @lawnmowerdeth: “An unloaded handgun is about the same as a hammer.”

      Really? I own a 9mm automatic.

      Want to bet your life that you will know whether it’s unloaded or not when I point it in your direction with the clip in place and the hammer back?

      • S-Meow P-Meow says:

        @The-Lone-Gunman: Allow me to be pedantic.

        First of all, it’s highly likely you’re firearm is semi-automatic unless it’s a NFA (1934-05-26, 26 USC CH 53) classified weapon and is truly automatic.

        Secondly, unless it’s a 9MM revolver with moon-clips there are no “clips” on this firearm, it would likely be magazine fed. Doubt there are stripper clips or en-bloc clips on this pistol either.

        I know, pedantism, but these things are truly different. It’s like telling your doctor your tibia is hurting when you really mean your femur.

        Glad you own a firearm and hope you’re an NRA member. :)

        • JRules says:

          @S-Meow P-Meow: Haha, I was going to post the exact same thing, glad I scrolled through the rest of the posts.

        • HiPwr says:

          @S-Meow P-Meow: @jsbeagle: It’s possible that by “automatic” he was trying for “autoloader” which is a somewhat archaic synonym for semi-automatic. I make plenty of gramatical/spelling errors myself, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Of course, I would have just said 9mm Parabellum, or 9mm Luger.

        • AustinTXProgrammer says:

          @S-Meow P-Meow: I am an NRA member, and I think in the case of pistols Automatic is accepted in place of semi-automatic, as in automatic loading… Full Auto pistols certainly exist, and this does make the definitions blurry.

        • The-Lone-Gunman says:

          @S-Meow P-Meow:

          I bow to and acknowledge your pedantic wit.

          Where do you want your LOLcatz award sent?

      • jsbeagle says:

        You have a 9mm auto? Holy cow. How much did the tax stamp cost you?

        I’m guessing you have a 9mm semi-automatic. Semi-automatic guns sound bad enough on the news that you don’t need to confuse people further.

        For everybody that freaks when they hear about a SEMI-AUTOMATIC on the news, all it means is that each time you pull the trigger, it shoots one bullet and another one is loaded. A non semi-automatic would involve you manually loading another cartridge each shot. In either case, one trigger pull equals one bullet fired.

    • Anathema777 says:

      @lawnmowerdeth: Other articles note that there was ammo in the bag.

    • HIV 2 Elway says:

      @lawnmowerdeth: I don’t think a hammer would be allowed on the plane either.

    • mmmsoap says:

      @lawnmowerdeth: Unless, of course, you can pass the ammo to someone else, and reunite them on the other side of security. THen it’s a loaded gun.

      • dragonfire81 says:

        @mmmsoap: Bingo.

      • Corporate_guy says:

        @mmmsoap: Or the ammo is in the bag, because the employee probably didn’t even look. If being a friend is all it takes to bypass security, than expect terrorists who hide out here for years to befriend airline employees.

        • bpclay says:

          @Corporate_guy: You’d be surprised abt having ammunition on a plane. I have come back from hunting trips with spent cartridges in my bag and never had it detected by the x-ray. Last year, a friend had a “live” round that fell in his carry-on…he found it when he was cleaning it out. He wasn’t stopped by TSA either.

    • nakedscience says:

      @lawnmowerdeth: Is that why gun safety teaches you to teach ALL GUNS AS LOADED? Always?

    • jumpo64 says:

      @lawnmowerdeth: Not when said crazy person has bullets hidden in the rectum or any other hole/bag/shoe/baby they can fit them in. Never underestimate the power of someone who wants to do something bad.

    • physics2010 says:

      @lawnmowerdeth: Hint to all the people scared of the guy waving the gun around in the plane. It does not matter if the gun has bullets or not. There are less bullets in the gun than there are people on the plane. If they takeover the plane you are ALL DEAD anyway.

      Remember 9/11. Razor, gun, bomb…it doesn’t matter. Kill them first.

    • sburnap42 says:

      @lawnmowerdeth: That’s not really the point. The point is that despite our awesome “security”, someone easily got a gun (which easily could have been loaded) on a plane.

  6. skormos says:

    They’re being questioned? Funny, I thought taking a loaded handgun onto a plane was a felony. Isn’t it also a felony to get around airport security?

    • HiPwr says:

      @Dr. Jonas Venture, Jr.: I’m not sure how they would go about building a case against them without questioning them first.

    • sir_pantsalot says:

      @Dr. Jonas Venture, Jr.: We often hear about getting arrested for things like getting out of their seat to use the bathroom at the wrong time. These guys bring a gun on a plane and they get questioned. Something funny is going on here. When will they release the names of these guys?

      • nakedscience says:

        @sir_pantsalot: …Um. You have to be questioned before you can be charged. It’s how it works.

        • sir_pantsalot says:

          @nakedscience: I understand that but all the other news stories about other passengers doing things much less criminal than bringing a gun and ammo onto a plane report the passenger being arrested immediately. You can be arrested then questioned and never charged. I just find it fishy that every report I read says these guys are being questioned and no arrests have been made.

    • el-brazo-onofre says:

      @Dr. Jonas Venture, Jr.: Funny, I thought taking a loaded handgun onto a plane was a felony.
      Read to OP. ‘Twas unloaded.

    • econobiker says:

      @Dr. Jonas Venture, Jr.: I thought that too on why they were not immediately arrested. But then again it was an airline employee not just some average joe flyer…

  7. Trai_Dep says:

    On the bright side, each and every bottle of water was successfully confiscated on that flight.

  8. zigziggityzoo says:

    Kinda insane that this can happen. I agree that an unloaded gun isn’t really dangerous. But there could have very well been ammunition inside that bag.

    What I want to know is this: How did that passenger (that alerted authorities) know it wasn’t screened?

    • wallspray says:

      @zigziggityzoo: the gun isn’t dangerous it’s the implication it holds. If someone has a gun on a plane, its hard to know if its loaded or not.

    • youbastid says:

      @zigziggityzoo: On an airplane, a loaded gun is just as dangerous as an unloaded gun. You can hijack a plane with a boxcutter, you sure as shit can do it with an unloaded gun. Nobody knows that it’s unloaded.

    • Gramin says:


      This passenger saw the bag handed directly to an airline employee. Appears the passenger was at the security checkpoint and witnessed this bag being handed over to someone on the other side. The only way that bag should have made it across the checkpoint is by the hand of a TSA agent.

    • Corporate_guy says:

      @zigziggityzoo: They passed it around security. Even if it was screed elsewhere it should still pass through regular security. If it has some kind of exception with it, then those agents can verify and allow it through.

    • EBBlond says:

      @zigziggityzoo: It doesn’t matter if the passenger knew or didn’t know whether it had been screened. If it had, the authorities would find out in short order, and there would be no problem. Problems occur when people see questionable activity and say nothing.

  9. HiPwr says:

    I wish there were some details in this article. Where exactly in the airport did this happen?

  10. JGKojak says:

    That’s what I never understood about the boxcutters– rush the assholes- you’ll get cut but doubtful you’d die.

    • Vengefultacos says:

      @JGKojak: You facing a guy with a box cutter is one thing. You facing a guy who has the box cutter blade pressed against the jugular vein of someone else… totally different.

    • donjumpsuit says:

      @JGKojak: Pre 9-11, airline terrorism was thought to not to have a suicide component. As you know one of the planes had a circumstance where those boxcutter bandits were rushed, and it resulted in a plane crashing into a field. Now a days, this obviously would not be tolerated.

    • BuddyGuyMontag says:

      @JGKojak: Also, I believe the 9/11 terrorists were claiming they had bombs (which they didn’t, but the stories from the phone calls is that they had rigged the plane) which is why no one rushed.

      • BuddyGuyMontag says:

        @BuddyGuyMontag: Oh, and also, the reason why Flight 92 rushed them was because they knew the outcome of the other three flights and that the bombs were a bluff. So rushing was the best way not to share the same fate.

    • econobiker says:

      @JGKojak: Apparently the terrorists had fake bombs (as others above said) and someone on each plane was immediately killed with a box cutter when they took over to enforce the seriousness of their so called demands. Couple that with the typical training prior to 9/11 of acceeding to terrorist demands and you got the results we witnessed.

    • vildechaia says:

      All it takes is a slash to one artery – you’d probably bleed out before help could be summoned. @JGKojak:

  11. Quake 'n' Shake says:

    Need more passenger trains.

    That is all.

  12. I Love New Jersey says:

    Airline security is basically kabuki theatre that is done to make it look like the problem has been solved.

  13. labeled says:

    @HiPwr: Seems it would be about as problematic as getting the gun on the plane would’ve been. Hence, the workaround by using an airline employee to bypass security.

    • HiPwr says:

      @labeled: Yes, if you are bypassing security altogether, you could smuggle a claymore mine & three kilos of cocaine onto the plane. JGKojak‘s assertion that it is “VERY easy” to smuggle rounds onto a commercial plane to me implies that one could get it on without taking the measures of employing a airline insider.

  14. kevjohn says:

    You have obviously never seen the hammer fight from Old Boy.

  15. Tim says:

    Taking It Seriously is by far my favorite tag on Consumerist.

  16. Russ Savage says:

    ohh how many times i wish I could pistol whip flight attendants.

    • dialing_wand says:

      @Russ Savage: And I bet they feel the same way about a few of their passengers.

      Kind of goes both ways.

      Note: I am not a flight attendant. I do not work for an airline.

  17. P_Smith says:

    And how long was the “eagle-eyed passenger” detained? Or was he arrested?

    After all, if he was observant enough to notice a gun, and he must be someone familiar with guns, and therefore he’s a threat, and his name needs to be added to the “no fly list”, and he needs to be held until he’s cleared, and…..

    (If you think that’s sarcasm, you’ve obviously never had police accuse you of involvement, or be insulting and threatening, after reporting a crime.)

    • K-Bo says:

      @P_Smith: He didn’t notice a gun, just a bag that skipped security. He told TSA about this, they boarded, found the bag, and checked it before finding out it was a gun. The reason they looked was the assumption that if they snuck it past security, something must be up. Not because the guy told them there was a gun.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @P_Smith: 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. Richard Jewell alerts the GBI of the bomb and as an award gets to be referred to as a “vindicated suspect” even after he died: []

    • nakedscience says:

      @P_Smith: Dude. WTF are you talking about. He didn’t even notice a gun.

    • Knippschild says:

      @P_Smith: So knowing what a gun looks like makes you eligible for arrest and the no-fly list?

      And familiar with guns? Man, I guess (ex-)military, (ex-)cops, hunters and the like all most be forbidden from entering airports.

      Oh crap, I guess there goes the airline industry. What’s left of it anyway.

      • ceriphim says:

        @Knippschild: For real? This isn’t Slashdot. RTFA.

        • UlaniNasica says:

          @ceriphim: I have never seen RTFA before, but I immediately realized what it meant. Made me chuckle.

        • Knippschild says:

          @ceriphim: I did, thanks. Oh and because I live in the area, I made sure I did more research into it.

          Stop being an idiot and read the post I was commenting to, and you can see how idiotic that post was, and how it truly made no sense.

          Pay better attention next time. :)

  18. atrixe says:

    I live in Philadelphia, and just heard about this on the radio. According to KYW1060, ammunition was snuck on-board the plane along with the handgun.

    • sir_pantsalot says:

      @atrixe: I hear they do not think it was a terrorism plot. Something does not smell right about all of this.

    • SacraBos says:

      @atrixe: Just because it’s not a “terrorist plot” does not mean it wasn’t a plot, or that people would be terrorized. Remember is used to mean that someone was really desperate about getting to Cuba, and decided to take a load of strangers to keep him company. DB Cooper thought it’d be a hoot to rob everyone and jump to obscurity.

      So, terrorist plot or no, I’m glad that at least are verbally taking it seriously.

    • Nathan Oliver says:

      @atrixe: Yep. CBS is now reporting that, too. []

      I’m quite interested to see what the person says was their intention.

  19. Jack Doyle says:

    No surprise here. I could probably sneak my gun past airport security if I tried. That guy cheated, though, bypassing TSA. A real man would walk right through the TSA checkpoint with his gun.

  20. RobertBaron says:

    When can everyone involved with air security just admit that it’s more about peace of mind than any actual security.

    All terrorists have to do is find a disgruntled/broke employee and funnel him a couple thousand+ and they can get anything on board the plane. Hell, if they are dedicated enough, they could get one of their guys a freakin job application and plan accordingly.

  21. Corporate_guy says:

    Just searched this []

    The consumerist is the top news article for this.

  22. vastrightwing says:

    Since an unloaded gun is not a “problem”, yelling the word “gun” real loud several times wouldn’t be a problem either or yelling “fire” or any other trigger words. (yes, sadly it was…).

    • Gramin says:


      I’ll give you (or anyone else) a cookie if they can correctly identify where the “yelling fire” phrase came from. Specifically, who coined the phrase and why.

      • arcticJKL says:

        @Gramin: .
        Schenck v. United States

        • Gramin says:


          Correct. Justice Holmes, in delivering the Court’s opinion, said the following: “The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic.”

  23. ARP says:

    You know, a few years ago, I could (barely) understand that someone forgot, didn’t know, thought you just needed to unload it, etc.

    But c’mon, we’ve had 20+ years of no handguns and 7+ years of tight security. There is no “honest mistake” here.

    • humphrmi says:

      @ARP: I worked in airport security – 26 years ago. No handguns then either. One day, a guy comes through my station, I see a shape that all my training had warned me to check. Usually it just turned out to be something innocent. never in a million years suspected a real gun, but there it was when I opened the bag.

      They interviewed the guy as they were processing him (you did get arrested for this, even back then) and he admitted that he carried a gun with him “everywhere” for personal protection, and said that he had forgotten it was in his bag and had been through dozens of airports with it in the last few weeks. It was his first time through Seattle, where I worked. I guess we were just better trained.

      Anyway, the point is, the cops made a point – even back then – that forgetting was no excuse. As they hauled him off to jail.

      • From the cubicle of PGibbons says:

        @humphrmi: I’ve mistakenly done this with knives, very easy to do when traveling from camping trips and other events. Luckily the only “penalty” has been the ridiculous cost of mailing it home (outstripping the cost of the item).

        • humphrmi says:

          @From the cubicle of PGibbons: Actually, knives are kind of a special case (or where, when I was there) for checkpoint security. Not that we let them through back when I was there, but whereas someone carrying a gun would end up spending at least a couple of hours in jail, someone carrying a knife generally was given a chance to fix the situation without missing their flight (if they allowed enough time, that is). I guess maybe because more people carry knives for various non-lethal situations – leathermen, swiss army knives, etc.

  24. parad0x360 says:

    So what would have happened if this person had evil intent and had swallowed some bullets to later poop out and load into the gun?

  25. dresden says:

    They could always keester the ammo. :P

  26. silver-spork says:

    Philly + TSA = security theater taken to the extreme

    I can’t wait to hear the explanation of why the airline flunkie felt it was OK to sneak it past TSA. Especially since you probably have a good chance of getting it past the TSA in Philly anyway.

  27. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Gun AND ammo found on plane.


    Two people, including a US Airways employee, were being questioned on Thursday morning after authorities at Philadelphia International Airport found a handgun and ammunition on a flight bound for Arizona. Charges were expected to be filed.

    The 7:15am flight, which was already taxiing out for departure, was called back and searched.

    • econobiker says:

      @IfThenElvis: Shows how fast the TSA was on the deal if the plane got to taxiing out of departure.

      The guy who reported it probably got the freaking 3rd degree from them before they believed him since only the TSA can watch security…

  28. xkevin108x says:

    Personally I don’t think anyone should be prevented from carrying a loaded gun on a plane as long as you can legally own and carry the gun in both the place of departure and arrival. Law-abiding people should not be punished for the acts of criminals.

    • doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

      @xkevin108x: I use tools (screwdrivers, wire cutters, knives) all the time, but I can’t carry them on the plane either. So I agree.

      I was actually stopped once for a set of Allen wrenches. Apparently the f*ckwad security guy needed a set.

    • morlo says:

      @Urgleglurk: The only one interested in probing you at an airport is the TSA. Terrorists have moved on. Just like the Twin Towers, the blow has been struck–now just wait awhile for the collapse.

    • nakedscience says:

      @xkevin108x: Yeah. Let’s put some handguns on a plane. Where no one can escape. Totally smart, yep.

  29. Urgleglurk says:

    After all I saw in my airline days, my faith in airline security is…let’s say, dented. I watch everyone and everything carefully when at an airport. I know what to look for (training) and the basic profiles.

    Whether people want believe it or not, the terrorists and their sympathizers are still probing and watching us. I think we can do much better than the TSA, though. We have a long way to go…

  30. MooseOfReason says:

    What if law-abiding citizens were allowed to bring guns onto planes?

    They’d outnumber potential “terrorists”, wouldn’t they?

    • David in Brasil says:

      @MooseOfReason: Well, what you’d have to worry about, I think, is some whacko passenger shooting a hole in the plane.

      Now, I always thought that they should hand out steak knives to every passenger.

    • Gramin says:


      You can tell the difference between a law abiding citizen and a terrorist!? Wow, I’m impressed! You’re a jackass… If I remember correctly, the VA Tech massacre was carried out by a student who legally obtained a firearm. You want to risk having people like him on your plane? Please refrain from submitting stupid comments.

      • your new nemesis says:

        @Gramin: While his wording may have been a little off, his idea is sound. Terrorists often have a prescribed plan and outcome, and with armed citizens around to prevent it from happening, could be a deterrent. It’s been noted that areas with concealed carry laws tend to have lower crime rates. Guns are just like any other piece of equipment, some one is going to be a jackass and misuse it. Look at drunk drivers, mothers who drown children in bathtubs, and people who use bats to bludgeon people to death.

        • Gramin says:


          I’m surrounded by idiots! The VA Tech massacre, Columbine, et al. were able to be carried out because of non-existent security. And, as I mentioned, the VA Tech shooter was a law abiding citizen who legally obtained a handgun! Should we allow someone like him onto a plane? And can you provide that information that links concealed carry laws to low crime rates? I can’t seem to find anything. That logic is similar to the death penalty as a deterrent… except that when the death penalty was reinstated, crime went up! Idiots…

          • Darren W. says:


            No, actually, he wasn’t a “law abiding citizen” because he illegally took his guns to VA Tech. In practice, that law only prevented the other students from having the opportunity to defend themselves.

            That said, in an airplane, I’ve also always thought that there should be an emergency knife installed by each seat on the plane.

          • secret_curse says:

            @Gramin: You are absolutely incorrect in stating that the VA Tech shooter legally obtained either of the handguns he purchased. A court found him to be a danger to himself in 2005 and mandated psychiatric treatment. The state of Virginia failed to report that fact to the National Instant Criminal Background Check system. If the state of Virginia would’ve carried out its duty, the VA Tech shooter would have failed his background check.

            As far as information linking concealed carry laws and lower crime rates, the most often cited study is from Florida, comparing crime rates before and after Florida changed its law to become a “shall-issue” state for concealed carry permits. There are conflicting studies on both sides of the argument. I personally see the logic behind the idea that a responsible armed citizen can diffuse a bad situation. However, I also understand the argument that a well-meaning and responsible armed citizen might shoot someone innocent while trying to diffuse a situation. It’s not a simple, black and white subject.

          • MooseOfReason says:

            @Gramin: “The VA Tech massacre, Columbine, et al. were able to be carried out because of non-existent security.”

            Guess what? I agree.

            If concealed-carry were legal on public property, there would have been security and there is a good chance the “massacre” would not have been so severe.

            And I did slightly mis-word my original statement. I should have said “passengers”.

  31. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    It doesn’t matter what was being smuggled. The point is that an airline employee assisted a passenger avoid security. Probably not the first time that employee was engaged in smuggling.

  32. MedicallyNeedy says:

    Any chance it was an Air Marshall?

    Good to know they don’t load their guns.
    Wouldn’t want everybody getting sucked out a bullet hole in the plane.

    • Gramin says:


      No, not a chance. They don’t pass their guns to flight attendants to avoid security. They notify the TSA of their status and are not subject to normal security protocol. Same procedure for an FBI agent or Secret Service agent.

  33. Yamunation says:

    why does someone need to transport a gun anyway? Unless one is a police officer, I see no need to be carrying a gun.

    • Gramin says:


      Even police officers have no business carrying a weapon into the passenger area of a plane. Their jurisdiction ends the moment that plane leaves the ground… if they even have jurisdiction inside the airport. It’s different for federal law enforcement… but again, they usually check it… not really much you can do with a gun on a plane besides cause panic.

    • MooseOfReason says:

      @Yamunation: Self-defense.

  34. vladthepaler says:

    Unless the guy had the ammo in his pocket, I don’t see what the danger is. Yes, I know even unloaded handguns aren’t allowed, but the prohibition has nothing to do with danger.

  35. axiomatic says:

    It’s always Philadelphia, PA that’s the problem child. If its not the baggage handlers stealing stuff its something else.

    I think its time for a management shakedown at Philadelphia International Airport.

  36. econobiker says:

    Reports that they are being charged in it.


    I am thinking something related to gangs might be the reason someone needed to bring a gun to Phoenix with him…

  37. bigmac12 says:

    Make them fire the gun till empty then let it on the plane.
    Musn’t trample on anyone’s rights!

  38. Skaperen says:

    Airline employees, not even pilots or security guards themselves, should be able to go past security. They might have a good reason to be expedited through or have a special security processing area for them. But even that should not allow a gun through. People authorized to have guns inside the secure area should either use service weapons that stay inside the area (in a locked always monitored area), or be thoroughly verified as allowed to carry guns in and out (e.g. US Marshals, FBI agents, Secret Service agents).

  39. ninjatoddler says:

    Incredible. The TSA made me check-in my bag because of a sealed brand new “Bath and Body” scrub which was 5 ounces over their limit just last week.

  40. Murph1908 says:

    No Bingo

    Why go through the trouble of 2 smuggling events.

    If you are smuggling in a gun, why choose to leave it unloaded?

    If you can sneak the gun on, it’s not like having it unloaded made it easier.

    As someone said, other articles state there was ammo in the bag, which would make sense.

  41. eggman131 says:

    I worked for US Airways for a few years. I could have gotten anything past security at any time, and frankly there is no question that some of my colleagues would have taken a payoff to get ANYTHING past security. This would have been kindergarten simple and is a scary thought, then and now.

  42. MissChevious says:

    True story: last year I was travelling for work and had my wallet stolen at the airport after I’d checked in. Since I had to make the flight, I filed a report and got “four essed” (SSSS marked on my boarding pass) so that I could go through the special screening to get on the plane.

    The TSA agents tear apart my bags, make me turn on my computer, pat me down, blah blah blah, but I make the flight and go merrily (sort of) on my way. When I get to hotel, I unpack…

    …and realize that a full-sized metal utility knife was in the bottom of my work bag (I’d used it to set up decorations for a party we’d had the week before at work and forgotten to take it out). Six inches long, made of metal, with extra blades in the handle.

    That’s crack airport security for you. The worst part was that I had to throw out a perfectly good utility knife, as I couldn’t count on security being as lax on the way home, and I didn’t have ID.

  43. Craysh says:

    OK I gotta ask. I know that this was a big deal but why the hell would they delay the flight for 4 hours?
    That just feels like they’re punishing the passengers for paying attention…

    • XTC46 says:

      @Craysh: Becasue they probabaly checked the bag, verified who the passenger was, did a background check, checked the guy who helped him, did a trace on the gun to make sure it wasnt used in a crime, did a bomb sweep of the cargo old, then had to get back into the takeoff line up and alert the arival airport of the delay.

      Planes dont just get to take off as they see fit.

  44. nullrout says:

    No, don’t worry about the guns…please focus on the important things: like throwing away my toothpaste because it was over 3 ozs.

  45. Jason Paolucci says:

    I am shocked that a bunch of people have said ‘its no big deal its an unloaded gun’. Even if there was no ammunition for that gun on the plane all the person had to do was just pull the gun out of the bag and start waving it around and hijack the plane.

    If the person who owned the firearm legally it would be registered in Philadelphia. Taking it to Arizona would be illegal as the firearm is not registered in that state… But why would someone who lawfully owned the firearm risk so much by doing what they did, ammo and all?
    Firearms can be shipped legally through UPS but the recipient must have a valid Federal Firearms License. When the person arrives in the new state, they stop by the firearms dealer where they shipped the firearm and do the paperwork/waiting period/background check etc.
    Unless the firearm was already registered in Arizona in which case having it in Philadelphia would be a crime as it is unregistered there.

    The only reason these people did what they did was for criminal/terrorist activities. Heck if it was just to get a unregistered firearm into Arizona all they would have to have done is FedEX it and hope no one would find it… Which I believe would be way better odds.

    The security loophole, or the ‘illusion of security’ loophole, is a huge problem. The security policies should apply to EVERY person boarding the plane. The rules only work if everyone is required to follow them. Oh wait, they are!

    This story would still be shocking even if there was no firearm involved. What if the bag had been filled with any of these:

    2 kilos of cocaine
    that monkey from the movie “Outbreak”
    human kidneys that were harvested from some unknown victim
    or just 10,000 marbles

    Although it is topical that it just happened to be a firearm. Someone was able to bring a illegal firearm into an area where no one else is able to have a firearm (Sky Marshals and some pilots excluded).

    I guess it kinda shows that banning firearms for law abiding citizens is ridiculous as the criminals will always find a way to have firearms.
    not that I am saying we should allow law abiding citizens to have firearms on planes… As even law abiding citizens are still not allowed to have firearms in many places like schools, post office, court buildings etc.

    Hum… I think I need to re-evaluate my position about gun control… I wonder what both camps of the gun control issue would say about this specific situation.
    Might be a good litmus test.
    Anyway, isn’t it free doughnut day ?

  46. Black-Cat says:

    TSA proves once again that they are completely incompetent. I bet while this happened they were giving additional screening to a five year child whose name is on the known terrorist list. Fucking idiots.