TSA catches loaded handgun in baby stroller at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport checkpoint

Man says he forgot he had the loaded gun in the stroller
Local Press Release
Friday, June 25, 2021
TSA officers at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport caught this loaded handgun inside a baby stroller on June 24. (TSA photo)

LATROBE, Pa. –  A West Virginia man was arrested by police after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers discovered a loaded gun tucked into a pocket of his baby stroller at the security checkpoint at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport yesterday, Thursday, June 24.

It was the fourth handgun that TSA officers have caught at the airport so far this year. Only three guns were caught in 2019 when significantly more people were flying prior to the pandemic.

“Our TSA officers physically inspect strollers when they are too large to fit through the checkpoint X-ray unit and in this case, as a TSA officer was visually and then physically inspecting the stroller, he found a loaded handgun hidden in a pocket of the stroller,” said Karen Keys-Turner, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “That’s a good catch on the part of our officers. Just because an individual is traveling with a young child in a baby stroller doesn’t automatically mean they get a free pass at a checkpoint. It is also an example of why we do not profile travelers.”

The weapon was a .380 caliber handgun loaded with six bullets. TSA officers alerted the Westmoreland County Park Police who confiscated the weapon, questioned the man and arrested him on a weapons charge. The man told officials he was a resident of Morgantown, West Virginia, although his driver’s license indicated he was a resident of Houston, Pennsylvania.

The man said that when he and his girlfriend take their dogs and child for a walk that he keeps his loaded gun in the rear stroller pocket and forgot to remove it when they came to catch their flight.

“If you own a firearm, you should know where it is at all times. Not knowing that you have a loaded gun with you is an accident waiting to happen,” Keys-Turner said.

Travelers are not permitted to carry their guns onto airplanes, however, passengers are allowed to transport their firearms as checked baggage if they are properly packed and declared at their airline ticket counter to be transported in the belly of the plane. 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.

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.

TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns and gun parts with them at a checkpoint. Civil penalties for bringing a handgun into a checkpoint can stretch into thousands of dollars, depending on 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.

Guns caught at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport Checkpoint, 2017 to 2021*







(As of 6/24/21)

Arnold Palmer Regional Airport (LBE)






*Fewer travelers 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.