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Another gun reported in passenger's bag at HIA; in separate incident, box cutter reported in shoe

By Laura Hayes

laurahayes@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 7/17/19

Just over two weeks after Harrisburg International Airport Transportation Security Administration personnel found a loaded gun in a Lower Paxton Township man’s carry-on bag, a second gun was …

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Another gun reported in passenger's bag at HIA; in separate incident, box cutter reported in shoe

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Just over two weeks after Harrisburg International Airport Transportation Security Administration personnel found a loaded gun in a Lower Paxton Township man’s carry-on bag, a second gun was found loaded in a Honey Brook man’s bag.

Then, a box cutter was found concealed in a man’s shoe a week later.

Quentin George Peterson Jr., 56, has been charged with carrying a firearm without a license.

This is the second firearm caught by TSA in June, and the Lower Paxton man’s gun was the first discovered in 2019. TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein told the Press & Journal that six firearms were found at the HIA checkpoint in 2018.

“Travelers need to know their airline’s and the TSA’s rules and regulations regarding checked bag and carry-on items so they come to the airport packed accordingly,” said Scott Miller, the airport deputy director of business development and strategic marketing.

Airport police went to HIA’s security checkpoint following a report of a possible firearm in a carry-on bag at 1:21 p.m. June 30, according to the affidavit filed with District Judge Michael J. Smith.

When police asked what was in his bag, Peterson “started to shake, sweat, and get nervous,” police wrote in the affidavit. They searched the bag and found a Smith & Wesson .38 Special +P revolver with five rounds in a holster.

Peterson told police that he forgot he had his gun in his bag, and the week prior, he had put it in there because he was going to take his daughter to a gun range.

Police said Peterson didn’t have a state concealed-carry license.

Peterson was arraigned before District Judge Hanif L. Johnson Sr., and his bail was set at $5,000. Court records indicate that his bail was posted. Peterson is scheduled to have his preliminary hearing before Smith on Aug. 28.

Two weeks before, a 33-year-old Lower Paxton man was charged after TSA found a 9mm Sig Sauer handgun in his bag, loaded with 10 bullets. He was arrested and charged with carrying a firearm without a license, and in the affidavit filed with Smith, airport police wrote that his conceal carry license had expired in 2017.

The charge was later withdrawn.

According to TSA, firearms can be checked in a bag if they are unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked, packed separately from ammunition, and declared. Even if a passenger has a concealed-carry permit, they are not allowed to bring a gun onto a plane in a carry-on bag.

Box cutter reported

On July 7, a man was stopped by TSA after he tried to bring box cutters and a utility knife past the security checkpoint, according to a TSA press release.

When the man removed his shoes to go through the X-ray machine, a small, flat box cutter was found under the lining of one of his shoes, TSA wrote. Two more box cutters and a hand-held cutter/utility knife were detected in his carry-on bag.

“When asked why there was a box cutter in his shoe, the man changed his story several times, claiming that he worked for a delivery service, that it slipped in, and that he didn’t know how it could have suddenly appeared under the lining of the sole of one of his dress shoes,” TSA wrote.

The man was able to catch his flight after the box cutters and knife were removed from his shoe and bag “because the weapons were removed and no longer posed a threat,” TSA wrote.

“[The] box cutter traveler was not charged because it is not illegal to be in possession of box cutters,” Farbstein said.

Miller added that no charges were filed because the man cooperated with the TSA and police and surrendered the items before going through security again.