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TSA stops Washington County man at Pittsburgh Airport with loaded handgun

PITTSBURGH –Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers detected a loaded handgun in the carry-on bag of a Washington County, Pa., man at the Pittsburgh International Airport security checkpoint on Saturday, June 19. The 9 mm gun was loaded with eight bullets including one in the chamber.

After detecting the gun, TSA officers notified the Allegheny County Police who confiscated the weapon from the traveler, a resident of Avella, Pa.

“Bringing a loaded firearm to an airport security checkpoint is a serious offense,” said Karen Keys-Turner, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “It’s so serious that because this traveler carried his gun to the checkpoint, he now faces a Federal financial civil penalty that could run into the thousands of dollars.”

Additionally, when a local resident brings a gun to the airport security checkpoint, the U.S. States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania requests that the County Sheriff’s Department rescind that resident’s firearms concealed carry license due to negligence.

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.

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

Year

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

2022

(As of 6/20/22)

Guns caught at Pittsburgh International Airport checkpoints

32

34

35

21

32

12

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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