PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers caught a Beaver, Pennsylvania, woman with a .22 caliber handgun loaded with five bullets at the Pittsburgh International Airport security checkpoint yesterday, Thursday, Jan. 14.
A TSA officer spotted the handgun as the woman’s carry-on items passed through the checkpoint X-ray machine. TSA immediately alerted the Allegheny County Police, which responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the weapon and questioned the woman. She now faces stiff Federal civil penalties for bringing a loaded firearm to a checkpoint.
TSA reserves the right to issue a Federal financial 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 the penalty for bringing a weapon to a checkpoint 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. 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.
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 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.