TSA detects loaded handgun at Pittsburgh International Airport security checkpoint

Second gun caught within a three-day span
Local Press Release
Monday, August 10, 2020
TSA officers at Pittsburgh International Airport detected this handgun at the airport checkpoint on Aug. 7. (TSA photo)

PITTSBURGH, Pa. –  Transportation Security Administration officers caught a Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, man with a 9 mm handgun loaded with five bullets in his carry-on bag at Pittsburgh International Airport on Friday, Aug. 7. It was the second gun caught by TSA officers at Pittsburgh within a three-day span. On Aug. 4, they stopped a Fayette County, Pennsylvania, man from bringing a handgun loaded with six bullets onto an airplane.

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 man, a resident of West Newton, Pennsylvania. The police allowed the man to return the handgun to his vehicle. However, he is facing stiff Federal civil penalties.

A typical first offense for carrying a loaded handgun into a checkpoint is $4,100. 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. The complete list of civil penalties is posted online. If a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck™, that individual will lose their TSA PreCheck™ privileges.

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






(As of 8-9-20)

Guns caught





Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared at their 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. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.