A man has been caught trying to smuggle a gun inside his shoe to get through airport security in the US.
The unnamed passenger was travelling through Philadelphia International Airport on 23 September when he was found with a .25 caliber handgun “artfully concealed” in his footwear.
TSA agents detected the firearm and reported the incident to police, who confiscated the gun.
It was not loaded at the time of the incident.
Officials made clear that the concealment was not an accident, with Gerardo Spero, the TSA’s federal security director for the airport, confirming it “was not a case of forgetfulness.”
He told Fox News in a statement: “This was an intentional effort on the part of this individual to try to board an airplane with a gun.”
The man faces a “stiff federal financial civil penalty,” said Spero; offenders can face fines of up to $13,669 (£10,625).
Travellers in the States are permitted to carry a gun in their luggage, provided it is unloaded, checked into the hold, and they declare the fire arm when checking it in.
However, thousands of passengers a year still attempt to take guns on flights in their hand luggage.
In 2019, the TSA found 4,432 firearms, 87 per cent of which were loaded, in travellers’ carry-on bags.
Some 18 guns have been detected in hand luggage at Philadelphia Airport alone since the start of the year.
And despite the number of travellers being slashed for a large part of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the number of passengers travelling through US airports with guns in their carry-on luggage tripled in July compared to the same period in 2019.
The TSA said that its officers detected 15.3 guns per million people, compared to 5.1 guns per million people screened during July the previous year.
The agency screened 75 per cent fewer passengers in July this year due to Covid-19.
TSA Administrator David Pekoske said: “Even more concerning is that 80 per cent of the firearms coming into the checkpoint are loaded and it’s just an accident waiting to happen.
“Travellers need to know that if they bring a gun to the security checkpoint, regardless of whether it is in a handbag, knapsack, roller-bag or strapped to their belt, it will be an inconvenient and expensive mistake on their part.”