TSA catches four guns in four days at the Pittsburgh International Airport checkpoint

TSA: “You will be fined” for bringing guns to the checkpoint
Local Press Release
Monday, September 27, 2021
TSA officers at Pittsburgh International Airport caught a West Virginia resident with this loaded handgun at the airport security checkpoint on Sunday, Sept. 26. (TSA photo)

PITTSBURGH, Pa. –Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Pittsburgh International Airport stopped four guns in the last four days at the airport’s security checkpoint.

They caught a Homer City, Pa., man with a .380 caliber gun on Thursday, September 23; a Pittsburgh, Pa., woman with a 9 mm handgun loaded with seven bullets on Friday, Sept. 24; a Canonsburg, Pa., man with a .380 caliber handgun on Saturday, Sept. 25; and an Enterprise, W.Va., man with a 9 mm handgun loaded with 16 bullets, including one in the chamber, on Sunday, Sept. 26.

In each instance when TSA officers spotted the guns in the checkpoint X-ray machine, they alerted Allegheny County Police who then confiscated the weapons.

“Four guns in four days is an epidemic—one that is entirely and easily preventable,” said Karen Keys-Turner, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “Here is my message to gun owners. Do not bring your gun to our security checkpoints or you will be fined. Heavily fined. If you want to avoid paying what could amount to thousands of dollars, then either pack your gun properly for air transport or don’t bring it with you in the first place.”

PIT gun catch on 9/24 photo
TSA officers at Pittsburgh International Airport caught a Pittsburgh, Pa., woman with this loaded handgun at the airport security checkpoint on Friday, Sept. 24. (TSA photo)

TSA reserves the right to issue a $3,000 to $13,910 civil penalty to travelers who bring weapons with them to a checkpoint. Civil penalties for bringing a handgun into a checkpoint can stretch into thousands of dollars, depending on mitigating or aggravating 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.

Travelers 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 with checked baggage. 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 Firearms Caught at the Pittsburgh International Airport checkpoints, 2017 to 2021







(As of 9-26-21)

Guns caught at PIT checkpoints






*Significantly fewer passengers than previous years 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.