PITTSBURGH, Pa. (WTAJ)– After finding a gun at Pittsburgh International Airpot yesterday, TSA reports that five guns have been found within the past six days.
A man from Farmington, PA was going to bring his 9mm handgun loaded with seven bullets onto a flight Tuesday, Sept. 28, but was stopped by a TSA officer. Guns have been also been caught by TSA last Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
TSA reports that from 2017 to 2021, the lowest amount of firearms caught at Pittsburgh International Airport was in the year 2020 where TSA found only 21 firearms. The most were in the year 2019 when 35 firearms were found. As of September 26, 27 firearms have been found this year.
When the officers spot the guns in the checkpoint X-ray machine, Allegheny County Police are notified and then they arrive to confiscate the weapon. The checkpoint lane then becomes a standstill as police resolve the incident, which can cause delays for other travelers.
Travelers that attempt to bring weapons on a flight can fave penalties issued by TSA anywhere from $3,000 up to $13,910. It does not matter if the traveler has a concealed carry permit or not since the permit does not allow guns to be concealed on airplanes. A complete list of civil penalties can be found here.
“There is no excuse for a traveler who tries to carry a gun onto their flight,” said TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport Karen Keys-Turner. “The vast majority of violators claim that they forgot that they had their loaded guns with them. That’s no excuse. Responsible gun owners know where their guns are at all times and they know the proper way to transport a handgun to their destination. The right way to pack a gun for a flight is readily available on the TSA website and it is fairly simple. First of all the gun needs to be unloaded, which should be obvious. Second is to pack it in a locked hard-sided case. And finally, the case with the unloaded gun needs to be taken to the check-in counter. From there the airline will ensure the gun is transported safely, without any traveler access to the weapon during the flight. If you bring the gun to the checkpoint, you will be the recipient of a hefty fine from TSA.”
The only way firearms are allowed onboard a flight as baggage is if they are packed properly and declared at their online ticket counter to be transported in the belly of the plane with checked baggage. Ammunition is supposed to be packed separately from the weapon, which must be emptied, in a hard-sided case and locked. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional regulations.
Nationally, TSA reports that officers found a total of 3,257 firearms on passengers or their carry-on bags last year even though the total number of passengers screened fell by 500 million last year compared to 2019 due to the pandemic. Twice the amount of firearms per million passengers were screened compared to 2019. The amount of guns TSA found that last year 83 percent of the guns were loaded.
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