Beaver Falls man arrested after TSA stops him with loaded gun at the Pittsburgh International Airport checkpoint

Local Press Release
Friday, October 8, 2021
TSA officers stopped a Pennsylvania man from carrying this loaded handgun onto his flight on October 8. (TSA photo)

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – A Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, man was arrested by the police this morning (October 8) after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Pittsburgh International Airport detected a loaded gun in the man’s carry-on bag.

The man told officials that the .357 caliber handgun did not belong to him, rather it belonged to his father, yet the gun was in the traveler’s carry-on bag. He also told officials that he forgot to remove the gun from the bag, thus confirming that he knew that the gun had previously been placed inside the bag.

When the TSA officer spotted the gun in the checkpoint X-ray machine, the Allegheny County Police were alerted, confiscated the weapon and arrested the man. TSA forwarded the incident to be followed up with the issuance of a significant federal financial civil penalty.

“There is no excuse for a traveler who tries to carry a gun onto their flight,” said Karen Keys-Turner, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “The vast majority of violators claim that they forgot that they had their loaded guns with them, just like this man did. That’s no excuse. Responsible gun owners know where their guns are at all times and they know the proper way to transport a handgun to their destination.”

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 10-8-21)

Guns caught at PIT checkpoints






 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.