TSA catches loaded handgun at Pittsburgh International Airport security checkpoint

Regional News

TSA officers at Pittsburgh International Airport stopped a local woman with this loaded handgun at the security checkpoint on Oct. 23. (TSA photo)

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (WTAJ) — Transportation Security Administration officers caught a traveler with a .380 caliber handgun loaded with six bullets at Pittsburgh International Airport Friday morning.

A TSA officer spotted the handgun on the checkpoint X-ray machine’s monitor. TSA immediately alerted the Allegheny County Police, which responded to the checkpoint, and questioned the woman, a resident of Pittsburgh. The woman is facing stiff Federal civil penalties.

TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns and gun parts with them at a checkpoint. A typical first offense for carrying a loaded handgun into a checkpoint is $4,100 and can go as high as $13,669 depending on any mitigating 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. A complete list of civil penalties can be found at www.tsa.gov/travel/civil-enforcement.

Nationwide last year, 4,432 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging about 12.1 firearms per day, approximately a 5% increase nationally in firearm discoveries from the total of 4,239 detected in 2018. Eighty-seven percent of firearms detected at checkpoints last year were loaded.

TSA Firearms Caught at the Pittsburgh International Airport checkpoint, 2017 to 2020

Year2017201820192020 (As of 10-23-20)
Guns caught32343518

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 can delay travelers from getting to their gates.

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared at the airline ticket counter. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality.

TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website.

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