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TSA at Pittsburgh Airport stops local man with loaded gun at the security checkpoint

PITTSBURGH –Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Pittsburgh International Airport prevented an Allegheny County, Pa., resident from bringing his loaded handgun onto his flight early this morning, Monday, May 23. The .380 caliber handgun was loaded with six bullets.

When the TSA officer spotted the gun in the checkpoint X-ray machine, the Allegheny County Police were alerted, confiscated the handgun and cited the Wexford, Pa., man on a weapons charge.  

The man told officials that he usually keeps his handgun in his vehicle, however the vehicle broke down and he placed the gun into a bag that he later brought to the airport.

“Part of being a responsible gun owner is knowing where your firearm is at all times and knowing not to bring one to a TSA security checkpoint,” said Karen Keys-Turner, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport.

Guns detected at Pittsburgh International Airport security checkpoints, 2017 to 2022

Year

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

2022

(As of 5/23/22)

Guns caught at Pittsburgh International Airport checkpoints

32

34

35

21

32

7

TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty of up to $13,900 to individuals who bring weapons with them to a checkpoint. Civil penalties for bringing a handgun into a checkpoint can stretch into thousands of dollars, depending on mitigating or aggravating circumstances. This applies to travelers with or without concealed gun carry permits because even though an individual may have a concealed carry permit, it does not allow for a firearm to be carried onto an airplane. If a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck®, that individual will lose their TSA PreCheck privileges.

Travelers are allowed to transport their firearms as checked baggage if they are properly packed and declared at their airline ticket counter to be transported in the belly of the plane with checked baggage. Checked firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and travelers should check into firearm laws before they decide to travel with their guns. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.

When an individual shows up at a checkpoint with a firearm, the checkpoint lane comes to a standstill until the police resolve the incident. Guns at checkpoints delay travelers from getting to their gates.

Nationwide, TSA officers detected 5,972 firearms on passengers or their carry-on bags at checkpoints last year. Of the guns caught by TSA in 2022, about 86 percent were loaded.

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