TSA catches loaded handgun in woman’s purse at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport checkpoint

Local Press Release
Monday, November 8, 2021
TSA officers at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport caught this loaded handgun inside a woman’s carry-on bag on Nov. 4. (TSA photo)

LATROBE, Pa. –  A West Virginia woman was stopped by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers when they discovered a loaded gun among the woman’s carry-on items at the security checkpoint at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport on Thursday, Nov. 4. The handgun was loaded with four bullets.  

It was the sixth handgun that TSA officers have caught at the airport so far this year, which doubles the number of guns that were caught in 2019 when significantly more people were flying prior to the pandemic.

When the gun was detected, TSA officers alerted the Westmoreland County Park Police who took possession of the gun and questioned the woman, a resident of Morgantown, West Virginia. She now faces a stiff federal financial penalty for carrying a gun to the security checkpoint.

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 $3,000 to $13,910 civil penalty to travelers who have loaded 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 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.

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






2021* (As of 11/8/21)

Guns caught at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport checkpoint






*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.