TSA catches fourth gun so far this month at Pittsburgh International Airport security checkpoint

Fourth loaded gun caught at the airport within 12 days
Local Press Release
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
TSA officers at Pittsburgh International Airport stopped a man with this loaded handgun at the security checkpoint on Feb. 15. (TSA photo)

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers have caught four guns within 12 days at Pittsburgh International Airport with the latest good catch taking place yesterday, Monday, Feb. 15.

The TSA team at Pittsburgh also caught guns on Feb. 12; Feb. 8 and Feb. 4.

“The prevalence of guns being brought to our checkpoints by travelers has got to stop,” said Karen Keys-Turner, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “Guns are not allowed to be carried onto planes; with or without a concealed carry permit. That’s no secret. It’s common sense. No guns on planes has been a policy since long before TSA was established 19 years ago, so it’s nothing new. All of these individuals now face stiff Federal financial civil penalties that can cost them thousands of dollars.”

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. 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.

Monday’s gun catch took place when a TSA officer stopped a man from Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, with a 9mm handgun loaded with 18 bullets. The TSA officer spotted the gun on the checkpoint X-ray machine’s monitor as the man’s belongings were being screened. TSA immediately alerted the Allegheny County Police, which responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the weapon and questioned the man, a resident of Wexford, Pennsylvania.  

 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 to be transported in the belly of the plane. Guns are absolutely not permitted to be carried onto planes. Checked firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and travelers should check into firearm laws before they decide to travel with their guns. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.

TSA Firearms Caught at the Pittsburgh International Airport checkpoint, 2017 to 2021







Guns caught






*Significantly fewer passengers than previous year due to the pandemic.

Nationwide, TSA officers detected 3,257 firearms on passengers or their carry-on bags at checkpoints last year, although the total number of passengers screened at airport checkpoints across the country fell by 500 million compared to 2019 due to the pandemic. The result was that twice as many firearms per million passengers screened were detected at checkpoints in 2020 compared to 2019. In 2020, TSA caught approximately 10 firearms per million passengers as compared to about five firearms per million passengers in 2019.  Of the guns caught by TSA in 2020, about 83 percent were loaded.