PITTSBURGH – A Florida woman was caught with a loaded handgun at the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint at Pittsburgh International Airport on Monday, Jan. 20. She was arrested by police.
The woman, from Broward County, Florida, was caught trying to bring a loaded .38 caliber handgun through the checkpoint in a carry-on bag. TSA contacted the Allegheny County Police, which responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the firearm, and detained the woman, a resident of Plantation, Florida, for questioning prior to arresting her on multiple firearms violations. Officials said that the gun had previously been reported as stolen.
Monday’s good catch by the Pittsburgh-based TSA officers was the third handgun that that they have caught at the airport checkpoint during the first three weeks of the new year. The first firearm was caught on Jan. 11 and the second on Jan. 13, so all three guns were caught within a short 10-day timeframe.
TSA officers detected the gun when it entered the checkpoint X-ray machine with the woman’s carry-on items.
When an individual shows up at a checkpoint with a firearm, the checkpoint lane comes to a standstill until the police resolve the incident.
(As of 1-22-20
Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT)
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.
As a reminder, individuals who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement. Even travelers with concealed firearm permits are not allowed to bring guns onto airplanes in their carry-on bags. If you’re a TSA Pre✓® member, then you could even lose your status. In addition, TSA has the authority to assess civil penalties of up to $13,333 for weapons violations. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $4,100. The complete list of penalties is posted online.
TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies as they may have additional requirements.